Get beyond the safety-pinned bondage trousers, rainbow-coloured mohawks, and three-chord rants about drowning the Queen off the coast of Argentine, and punk rock was originally about one then-revolutionary thing: pushing the idea that anyone could make art. That spirit is alive and well in Punk Voyage.
Like the original punks, no one in Finland’s Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (PKN) has musical chops that will make the world forget about Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page. Originally formed at a workshop for adults with developmental disabilities, the band’s members have autism and Down syndrome, which doesn’t stop them from writing songs that would have lit up the Cobalt back in its hardcore heyday.
Punk Voyage follows PKN’s members on a journey that starts with winning a nationwide Finnish songwriting competition, and then competing in the wildly popular multi-country Eurovision Song Contest. What stands out is the way that the guys in Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät have pretty much the same problems as every other band, with tour-life burnout, messy love triangles, and tantrums over artistic differences all part of making music. Prepare to be inspired, especially if you’ve finally accepted you’ll never master “Stairway to Heaven” and are thinking about starting a DIY punk group.