Cause Co-Motion

The Glasslands Gallery; Sat 7 Knitting Factory; Oct 27

Paintings: Sophy Naess courtesy of the Railton Collection

There have always been two distinct strains of punk rock: the aggressive and readily commodified sneer most commonly associated with the Sex Pistols, and the softer, weirder sneer born of the Modern Lovers. Cause Co-Motion (or, as the excitable band prefers it, caUSE co-Motion!) is a Brooklyn group that comes from the latter camp but somehow seems noisier than most acts from the former. Although the quartet does not put on a retro pose, it appears to exist in an earlier age. Cause Co-Motion’s discography is mainly restricted to seven-inch records, in part because its songs are so defiantly brief: This Just Won’t Last, an excellent four-song EP released last year on What’s Your Rupture?, clocks in at a commendable six minutes.

The musicians don’t diddle around onstage, either. They set up their bare-bones equipment with the speed of a superhero changing from his secret identity—for anybody who spends time in musty clubs waiting for bands, this is true heroism—and they exit in a similar flash. In between, the band stirs up a sloppy racket akin to groups like Television Personalities and Half Japanese. As with those acts, Cause Co-Motion’s agitation seems driven not by rage but rather by outsider’s fervor, perhaps resulting from successfully stumbling through a song without stopping. It amounts to punk by default—that is, punk that started life as pop—placing the band directly in line with predecessors of its genre’s strangest corner. — Jay Ruttenberg