It's nice to see (and hear) Chris Thomson fronting a punk band once again. And where his new quartet Coffin Pricks holds its own in spite of its extensive pedigree, it seems important to trace the roots of this group, since this is one of the first listens available.
Thomson helped found the legendary Washington, DC Dischord Records scene playing in Ignition, then fronting Circus Lupus for a number of years. His next DC band The Monorchid quickly became an underground art punk scene mainstay. Thomson and his bandmates moved labels from DC’s Simple Machines to Chicago’s Touch and Go, but then the band broke up soon after. After The Monorchid unexpectedly imploded, Thomson continued to front short-lived complex art punk bands, including Skull Kontrol (which also featured The Monorchid's Andy Coronado). Skull Kontrol released two EPs on Touch and Go, but few fans ever had an opportunity to see them live. Chris eventually moved to Chicago and created the new wave-inspired Red Eyed Legends. It also marked Thomson's return to playing an instrument, singing and playing guitar. After an EP on Gold Standard Labs and an EP and album on File 13, REL called it quits -- much too soon.
Enter the Coffin Pricks: at the time of their Epitonic saki Session in February 2012, they had only played a handful of shows and had recently finished recording their debut EP. Our session was blessed with eleven great tracks largely debuting the band. Coffin Pricks sound like they are consciously going back to basics -- with a little of Thomson’s obtuse twist. Coffin Pricks pay a bit of homage to bands like Wire, Gang of Four, and The Ramones insofar as they play tight punk songs in a way that comes off a bit nonchalant -- a trait that makes their music even more intriguing.
Thomson is not the Pricks' only veteran band member, either; guitarist Ryan Weinstein has played in slew of reputable groups, including Euphone, White Savage, The Lanterns, and (for a time) Red Eyed Legends. Chay Lawrence (Bob Tilton) plays bass, and Jeff Rice (Ottawa, Daylight Robbery) is the drummer. Let’s hope Coffin Pricks stick around for a long time -- but even if Thomson's peripatetic spirit kicks in once more, Epitonic saki Sessions is still privileged to unveil some of Coffin Pricks' first ever recordings.