By Phillipe Roberts
Long before “dystopia” lost its edge in a buzzword death spiral, Urkanian four-piece Bichkraft were conjuring up squalls of noise-forward post-punk that gleefully bit back at the rise of global authoritarianism. Their first three Wharf Cat releases culminated in last year’s liberating 800, which saw the band take a sonic leap towards a tighter, more refined sound. Back in the studio yet again, Bichkraft fashion a subversive new sound on “Desire,” a bombshell in their discography that downshifts on the nervous energy towards a swaggering dance rock track that takes a brutal government to task.
Lounge-style keys and bouncing percussion cover for lyrics indicting the repressive Ukranian regime for raiding dance clubs to forcibly conscript young men into the military, a relatively common occurrence in Bichkraft’s native Kiev. Vocalist Jenia Bichowski’s anguished delivery of the haunting hook - “Baby, baby it's true / There's no safe place for you” - speaks to the depth of dread churning beneath the surface of their collective minds, poisoning romance with fear. Guitars gleam like knives in the background, shifting between angular melodicism and frayed noise as they stumble, seasick, over each other. With the track careening to a close, Bichowski sings “I’m just hanging on” in a stupor, wounded by the violence he’s seen and anticipating the violence that’s sure to come as men are ripped off the streets. As both reportage and rock n’ roll, “Desire” hits the mark, dead center.
You can pre-order a 7” of “Desire” over on Wharf Cat’s site here.