The Love of Male Bonding
Published May 22, 2010When John Arthur Webb, guitarist/vocalist for Male Bonding says that he and his bandmates "don't really escape each other that much," it's hardly an exhausted comment on their recent touring schedule ― before the trio (including bassist/vocalist Kevin Hendrick and drummer Robin Silas) formed their current raucous outfit in Dalston, UK, they worked together, lived together, and played in other bands together. "The name came before we played together. We were spending a lot of time together. It was also a weird time for us because a couple of us were going through break-ups, so it was a good answer to those kinds of troubles as well."
The group's sweetly uncomplicated dynamic isn't limited to their bro-time; their debut full-length Nothing Hurts is fast, hard, and hooky, plied with gauzy vocals and guitars that soar into instantly memorable loops. With the bouncy Bleach-era Nirvana scuzz-riffs and playful post-punk angles, Male Bonding fall within current noise-pop specs, but an infectious charisma sets them apart. "We don't really think about how we want things to sound," Webb says, but it's clear his influences run deep as he notes that a dream collaboration might be with Sonic Youth or Greg Sage of seminal Portland punks the Wipers. And, of course, there's no denying the influence their new label, Sub Pop, has had on their spirit and aesthetic: "If someone was like, 'Hey, you won a competition to be on any label in the world,' I'd pick Sub Pop. We were all massively into that label. It's a total dream come true."