Jerk in the Can
Ching Ching a Ling (Fat Kids First)
When you call yourself Jerk in the Can, and then release a 7-inch vinyl EP where every song crashes to a close by the 2:20 mark, people are going to go in with preconceived notions. And in case those things don’t scream old-school-punk loud enough, Ching Ching a Ling’s great cover photo does. (Clad in black except for their shoes, vocalist-bassist Marc Blaquiere and synth-player Jessica Blaquiere are shown wearing matching red balaclavas in a No Frills supermarket, where, with shoppers looking on, they inspect a shelf full of Jerk in the Can cans).
The cover art is as clever as it is well-executed, and so are the songs on Ching Ching a Ling. Instead of rehashed Blink-182 or Angry Samoans, Jerk in the Can packs a lot of variation into its short numbers. “Killer Owls” starts out determined to bridge CBGB and the Cuckoo’s Nest on the fast-and-snotty front, but ends up drifting off on a bed of pillowy synths. “Bath Salts” will leave you wondering whether the target audience is the Gothic Sanctuary set or Scandinavian thrash-metal disciples, and the organ-swirled “My Stomach Sucks” starts a mosh pit in the middle of a carny-run midway.
Things end on a suitably disorienting note with “I Know You Don’t Know Me”, a rubbery mashup combining nightmarish techno-splatter and thrash-king goodness. Punk? Only by Jerk in the Can’s admirable determination to play by its own rules.