It’s been almost three years since Ausmuteants gifted the world with new music, but now the Melbourne-based rabble-rousers are back with a particularly idiosyncratic new record. Ausmuteants … Presents The World In Handcuffs is the brainchild of guitarist Shaun Connor, a collection of tracks that explores the mind of an unhinged police officer.
It was August 2016 when Ausmuteants last put forth a record. That’s a considerably long time between drinks, especially for a crew that was popping out recorded material at a reasonably quick clip up to that point. Each member’s interests outside the band has understandably necessitated a slower pace, but our patience has been rewarded in the end. In April the band will officially release their newest record Ausmuteants … Presents The World In Handcuffs through Anti Fade Records. This record is different from what has come previously – it isn’t so much a concept album as it is just a departure from Ausmuteants’ typical process, one that retains the band’s haywire punk sound and tongue-in-cheek approach. It’s an album of songs crafted by one member only – guitarist Shaun Connor – who assembled the collection of tracks and saw it through from concept to composition. Although this methodology and process seems like a bit of a deviation from the band’s M.O., the origins of … Presents The World In Handcuffs actually goes back a few years.
On 2014’s Order of Operation, Ausmuteants included a track called ‘We’re Cops’, a speedy slice of punk that placed listeners in the chaotic mindset of a bent law-enforcement officer. It was a playful, albeit quick, exploration of authority and the corruptible nature of power, examined within a genre that has a long history of anti-authoritarian sentiments. Ausmuteants’ signature taking-the-piss approach was perfect for conveying the absurd mania of police on the loose, an irreverent take on a group of individuals tasked with keeping the peace.
… Presents The World In Handcuffs takes the conceptual foundations set by ‘We’re Cops’ and expands upon it. Yes, this album is entirely about cops, and not the idealistic heroic type committed to helping enforce the law in a fair and equitable way. The record portrays the ugly, corrupted side of law enforcement – the systemic abuse of power, the immunity they have from the laws they enforce, and the way such a position can rapidly warp the morals and integrity of those wearing the badge. It’s a record that comes at an interesting time – there has been a discernible loss of faith in police officers around the world, and for good reason. The image of goons in uniform engaging in government-approved suppression is becoming more and more widespread, leading to a crisis of faith for those police are empowered to protect. Ausmuteants don’t try to tackle the socio-political factors surrounding the issue, but their vivid take on a cop engaging in repugnant behaviour under the guise of ‘law enforcement’ is enough of a pointed barb that you can understand where the band, and Shaun in particular, is coming from.