Special Interest’s latest release “Endure” highlights the unsteadiness of America’s political climate


@specialinterest.no | Instagram

The New Orleans punk band released their 4th album “Endure,” highlighting themes of politics and societal breakdown.

About three quarters into the track “(Herman’s) House” by New Orleans based punk act Special Interest, a group of vocalists chant “ooouahh ooouahh” over and over during a musical breakdown. It’s playful, it’s bubbly, it’s catchy and the first time I heard it, it immediately made me think about the opening to Rick James’s song “Be My Lady,” which contains an eerily similar piece of vocal ear candy.
Now, one may ask: What does a punk band have to do with a disco star that got famous for being the kind of guy that you do not take home to mother? Well, do I really need to explain? Rick James is as punk as the guy who just handed you a palm card containing directions to his garage show, but I digress. 

The real connection is the similarities between their genres: dance and punk. One is incredibly elated, and the other contains a raised fist, but at the end of the day they both ask for the same thing: assembly. 

Alli Logout, lead vocalist of the band, is incredibly aware of this in “(Herman’s) House,” singing, “now we’re gonna do this one more time / Because this is the only time I got in me.” At first listen, this may seem like a call for the crowd to dance before the breakdown is over, and it is. However, looking at the lyrics, which tell the somber story of Black Panther activist Herman Wallace’s life, it is a bit more obvious that she’s asking the crowd to truly listen to her message about the many civil injustices in the U.S.

Logout continues her body moving messages on the deliriously effective “Foul,” painting the picture of an overworked laborer who is never granted the satisfaction of embracing the dissatisfaction of their job. “If it’s not my joints / It’s my patience. If it’s not my head / It’s my heart,” she sings. The countering statements are panned to opposite ears, highlighting the dichotomy of such a call-and-response. These maddening replies may have originated from the speaker’s boss, but they will eventually repeat them back to themselves after being around the mercury of the American dream too long. The laborer is thus stuck working for the weekend, stuck working for their next break. “God I need a cigarette,” Logout exclaims. 

“Endure’s” purpose is serious, but it is also a fantastic example of how seriousness doesn’t need to hinder fun. One does not need to sulk when deliberating the political climate, they can do so with shuffling feet. 

This point is made clear from the get go. Opening track, “Cherry Blue Intention,” starts with nothing but the drummer’s vigorous banging of the hi-hat, and as they escalate the listener is spurred into the idea that movement is their only option. 

“Midnight Legend” is Special Interest at their poppiest. The song, based on a two chord melody, is simply about a woman whose aura is a fascination to the other nocturnal creatures around her. It is reminiscent of Grace Jones, and the legend’s aura is something of a long black limousine in itself. 

The entire memo of punk culture is the creation of community. That is exactly what Special Interest executes. Through “Endure,” they have both assimilated the sound of the club into their music and espoused the communal nature of both genres into a matrimony that could only harden. It is something that will move the ravers out of their synthesized euphoria and towards political enlightenment, and the kids with liberty spikes out of the moshpit and onto the dancefloor. Special Interest have asked their audience to think, to dance, and therefore to love each other, and “Endure” is a testament to the notion that four-on-the-floor may be the best method to do so.