Viking’s Choice: Pinkwash, ‘Cancer Money’

By Lars Gotrich  |  NPR

Pinkwash. Courtesy of the artist


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When you play punk rock with someone for 10 years, communication goes beyond words: The heart speaks through fingers and screams. Joey Doubek and Ashley Arnwine have a long history together in the D.C. punk bands Mass Movement Of The Moth and their own duo, Ingrid, but with Pinkwash (and a move to Philly), there’s an ecstatic pulse that guides their frantic, id-exploding punk rock.

With striking gold-on-purple artwork and a provocative title — both of which nod to ’80s Swans records — “Cancer Money” finds catharsis in head-bashing repetition. Where the band’s debut cassette dealt with Doubek’s mother dying of breast cancer, and found Doubek raging against the medical system in abstract ways, here there is no filter.

Over a squawking, muscle-spazzing riff, Doubek yelps, “Cancer money making you grave,” with a voice somewhere between Daniel Martin-McCormick’s nervous screams for Black Eyes and Nicolas Cage on fire. Arnwine is ruthless with her drumkit, punctuating every riff with a sledgehammer-powered exclamation point and cymbals that shriek like static. The duo closes with two minutes of a single, ugly riff — really, just an open power chord — that becomes an unsettling, wordless mantra, surrounded by eerie ambient noise.

The Cancer Money 7″ is out now on Sister Polygon.

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