Record of the Week: P.I.G.Z. Bloody Belgium EP
“Belgium is a mess. And that’s not half bad!” spits Yves Lafere before an anthemic guitar creeps in, finally breaking out into what can and should only be considered a Punk with a capital “P” classic! From the catchy riffing to the biting, emphasized vocals and jittery drums that seem to want to race ahead, “Bloody Belgium” is to P.I.G.Z. what “Blitzkrieg Bop” was to the RAMONES: an emblematic magnum opus epitomizing their sound and aesthetic. “Is this Democracy, or is this blindness?” he chastises and squeals, everything sounding charismatically shambolic but utterly electrified. On the flip, “Stooges” slams in with an attitude-filled riff, not unlike the way “God Save the Queen” does, and has a distinctly heavy tone akin to that of the STOOGES or MC5, with steel-hard chords and Lafere snarling, “Too many problems in my life, too many problems ’cause I wanna be me!” Closer “Shall I” is the snottiest of the lot, a short, severe, hand-clapping reaction to societal expectations and identity frustration—timeless teenage rampage! JW’s Records originally pressed these three crown jewels of Belgian punk to a 12″ after the band won first place in 1978’s First Belgian Punk Contest, and they were rereleased once again by German Payola Records that same year. Both are apparently rare as fuck, so Ugly Pop has done us all a massive favor and made these three perfectly p-u-n-k masterpieces available yet again; remastered and packaged beautifully, with pictures, reprints of newspaper clippings and an intro text framing this seminal, absolutely essential record.