New - Special Interest - Endure - LP
Brought together by New Orleans’ DIY scene, Special Interest is, on every level, uncompromising: in their adventurous sound, their high-energy live performances, and their convictions. Dance music and punk culture have flirted in the warehouse before, but the desire of Special Interest is to dismantle genre. 2018’s Spiraling and 2020’s widely acclaimed The Passion Of articulated the group’s style, driven by dance grooves and electronic textures as much as hardcore riffs, but Special Interest expands the vision with Endure, their latest album and first for Rough Trade.
Informed not just by the bleakness of the pandemic, but the tremendous energy and righteous anger of the summer 2020 uprisings. Endure sets the intensity of that moment — from the gnawing despair of isolation to the euphoria of human contact and connection — to a driving dancefloor rhythm on No Wave-inflected tracks like “Foul” and “Love Scene.” “Cherry Blue Intention” brings together a sturdy post-punk bassline, shrieking guitar effects, and a jungle breakbeat into a driving anthem of an opening track.
New songs like “(Herman’s) House” recall the art rock of Sparks and The B-52s as much as politically-minded punk, and on “Midnight Legend,” the group is more overtly pop than ever before — making something fun during a time of frequent sadness became a central priority. The group directly addresses the issues that surround them, like gentrification and the impending climate apocalypse. There’s a universal resonance to songs like “Concerning Peace,” which takes its hook from a sample of Frantz Fanon, but Special Interest’s music isn’t just a call to action. Biting humor and irreverence intermingle with harsh edges of noise, and there’s always room to dance and sweat.