Ah yes, Supersonic Piss. Iowa City’s scary heavy metal punk rock cosmic bummer band. When I first heard the band name, I flashed on visiting the Omaha Zoo’s rain forest when the tapirs were in heat. Their courtship seemed to involve a stealthy yet brutal assault by the male, which the female answered with a fire-hose-like stream of steaming urine, whose fragrance had no trouble reaching the visitor walkways overhead.
SSP is epic like 20 foot jets of tapir urine. Paige Harwell shouts and screams like she’s off her face on PCP and fighting with the cops. Her voice slashes through the massive, sludgy wall of noise; no matter how loud it gets the metal influence can be plainly heard in the atonal riffing and 16th note kick attacks, but their overall sound is closer to noise bands like The Boredoms and Sonic Youth. SSP is so over-the-top lo-fi and rude they make a lot of commercial metal bands sound prissy and timid by comparison.
It’s hard to pick a favorite song on this album, though the cover of Lydia Lunch’s “Baby Doll” stands out for the destroyed vocals and woozy slide guitar, punctuated with short stretches of industrial pounding. The rest of the songs are hard to tell apart at first, as SSP is consistently, relentlessly savage. But that’s part of their charm. They punch you in the face, you say “thank you, may I have another?” and they’re all too willing to oblige.
Obviously I’m not going to recommend Supersonic Piss to my mom, because I fear it would not compare favorably to her ears with the music of Debussy and Bach. But if you have any affinity with well-made, scuzzy, violent music, you will not be disappointed. To paraphrase Monty Python, Supersonic Piss shines out like a shaft of gold when all around is dark.