CHILDREN OF FINLAND FIGHTING IN NORWAY
Review by Shane Hilton
Back in the late 90’s, just as I discovered the joys of marijuana, hangovers, cheap speed, Egg & Bacon Rolls with BBQ sauce, and generally just being a good for nothing teenage layabout, the guy from Channel Ten’s Sports Tonight, also known as Bill Woods, started hosting a Sunday afternoon program called RPM.
I fucking loathed it.
Not only did Bill and his little buddy, supposed/accused motor sporting legend Barry Sheene, instil in me a lifelong contempt for motorsport television shows. He also awoke a strange passion inside of my adolescent heart for wanting to punch random television personalities in the head.
David Koch, the Cheez TV guys, Shelley Craft, anyone who appears on any of Leanne’s reality television shows (particularly Captain Sandy from Below Deck the fucking teetotalling fuck), Gus Gould, the Bondi Vet, Mike Munro, the fucker that does the weather on Channel Ten Mike Whateverthefuckhisnameis…
I once had a chance to punch the weather guy in the face. As I was walking home from work one day and I came ambling up the rail underpass at Burnley Station, I spotted the fucker on the street doing his little weather report.
I thought to myself “Self… there the fucking slime ball is. Look at the smug fucking look on his face. Just walk up and drop the cunt on the footpath. You’ll be doing the world a favour”
Now, hear me out.
I’m a pretty odd fellow. But I’m not stupid.
It’s not like I’m going to walk up and punch someone in the face in the street.
Especially, when they’re on live television.
My father didn’t raise no son dumb enough to cop a case for something as brain dead as knocking out a weather reporter on camera (ok.. maybe my other two brothers are crazy enough but they’re special units)
But still… this was a fascinating opportunity.
So, all this internal dialogue was going on “Should I? Shouldn’t I?” and I’m coming up on Mike fast.
Do I fulfil this weird little obsession I have or do I do the right thing and just stroll on?
At the very least I should show my unexplainable contempt for this fucker.
I was honestly struggling.
I never thought that I’d ever come to face to face with one of the people I’d loathed for so long.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had the opportunity of having something you’ve thought about for years that wasn’t even based in any reality suddenly appear before your eyes as an achievable goal.
It’s like seeing a “Do Not Touch” sign and thinking “Hmmm… I wonder what’ll happen?”
Then, just as I was about 4 seconds away from being within spitting distance, old mate threw the mic on the ground, took half a dozen steps and jumped in a van.
Look, I really know you want the story to end with me making the correct moral judgement or alternatively (if you’re a weird fuck) smacking seven shades of shit out of him.
Reality isn’t that perfect.
As the camera guy was chucking his camera on the ground I remarked to him “What kind of arsehole calls themselves Mike? It’s fucking Mick”
Without skipping a beat the cameraman simply replied “Well, at least that rhymes with what he is”
It was a moment I’ve treasured ever since.
Anyway, that’s all beside the point. I’m meant to be reviewing an album. Not talking about my twisted fantasy life.
But indulge me just for one second... because I was coming to a point and here it is.
If, somehow, I was ever granted the opportunity to punch the aforementioned Bill Woods in the face, without a fucking doubt, the soundtrack to that historic event would have to be C.O.F.F.I.N’s brand spanking new self-titled album Children of Finland Fighting In Norway.
This is the shit that would have made RPM a fucking great program all those years ago.
I know fuck all about cars but this is the kind of music that makes you want to go fast.
It’s the vinyl equivalent of great big dirty line of speed in a dodgy, sticker covered, graffiti slashed toilet cubicle with piss all over the floor after a dozen Jack & Cokes and 3 shots of tequila.
It’ll fuck you up but you know you’re gonna have a good time.
If you don’t know Children of Finland Fighting In Norway (aka C.O.F.F.I.N) by now you’re missing out on what could be, not just the best band in Australia, the best band in the world.
I don’t say that lightly.
C.O.F.F.I.N on their worst day are better than most bands on their best.
Their new album only confirms it.
Even if you’ve never heard of them.
Known for their frenetic, out of control, ear destroying, adrenalin pumping live shows (that make venue managers completely shit themselves) C.O.F.F.I.N are a band that don’t pull any punches. They spit out the kind of energy most bands can only dream of.
To capture just how good they’re live shows are on record is something that should be impossible but somehow the Sydney 5 piece have managed to do exactly that (again).
Recorded at Sydney’s house of ill repute, the Pet Food Factory, with Jason Whalley (he of the Frenzal Rhomb & Neptune Power Federation) Children of Finland Fighting In Norway is 38 minutes and 46 seconds of pure unadulterated rock & roll that completely circumvents any bullshit about genre.
There’s nods to the blues, punk, thrash and just about every other ridiculously inaccurate pigeon hole bands always seem to find themselves in.
C.O.F.F.I.N simply play it their way.
Trying to describe what C.O.F.F.I.N sound like is like trying to explain the colour blue to a blind person.
It’s something that simply needs to be experienced.
An onslaught of frenetic drumming, dirty punked out duelling guitars (three of them to be exact) that veer from filthy thrashed out power chords to spine breaking blues licks to all your favourite metal without breaking a sweat, the type of bass chugging that smacks you around the head and vocals that puncture your ears like a nail to the brain.
C.O.F.F.I.N are musicians that make other musicians feel completely inadequate.
Kicking off with the lead single Fast Love, a foot stomping jaunt of hard hitting drums, shout along chorus and rubber burning guitar that pulls you straight into the fist pumping, roll on the floor savageness of it all, this eponymous album is track after track of exquisite song writing.
Trying to pick a standout amongst everything is something I’m not even going to try.
There is not one single weak point on this album.
Each track stands out on its own merit in a brash display of individualism and still, somehow, all of that seems to fit in seamlessly amongst one another in an amazing display of stylistic prowess that’s unmistakably C.O.F.F.I.N.
From the sleazy blues of Ransack Blues to the out of control to the scatterbrain attack of People And Their Stories this album is going to have at least one thing you like and you’re going to like everything.
This is a record in every sense of the world.
But don’t be mistaken.
This isn’t just a slab of rock and little else. The raucous loud as fuck music hides the real strength of the band. As uncompromising C.O.F.F.I.N are musically they’re just as in your face with the intelligence and subject matter of their lyrical output.
C.O.F.F.I.N might make music that’s perfect to sink pints and bang you’re head to but I’m pretty sure some really smart fucker could write a thesis on their lyrics.
To put it as simply as possible this is modern day, suburban stained, confrontational, middle finger in your face poetry set to the type of music that’ll scare the shit out of your neighbours. Climate change, custodial sentencing, domestic violence. These are just some of the things C.O.F.F.I.N throw a mirror up at to reflect just how fucked up our society can be.
Children of Finland Fighting In Norway is without a doubt an album that promises nothing but delivers everything.
It’s a fascinating document of a band that are as exhilarating as they are dangerous.
It’s everything you want in music.
To finish (at fucking last… I hear you), both the review and the whole punching Bill Woods in the face analogy that kicked this thing off, let me finish with this. And I say this with absolutely zero hyperbole.
The day after this album was released I decided it would be a good idea to throw Children of Finland Fighting In Norway on as we ran around town preparing for a weekend of slinging chicken instead of beers.
As I sat out the front of Vincent’s Vegetarian in Footscray and Plans For You shook the shit out of my brain I came to the realisation that, from a purely subjective point of view, this is the greatest album I’ve listened to in 20 years.
C.O.F.F.I.N saw me sitting there in my little black car, leant in and punched me square in the face.
Great albums capture a moment in time that represents what the world should be before the world knows it.
This is that album.
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