Pussy Riot: back in the USSR

In this country at least, the punk music I loved as a teenager lost its ability to shock long before Johnny Rotten started appearing in butter commercials. So safe has it become that brief snatches of Sex Pistols songs even made it into the Olympic opening ceremony.

Not so in Russia, where it has obviously mutated into something that still maintains a little of its founding ethos. The clips of Pussy Riot I have heard on YouTube strike me as utterly cacophonous, and I say that as a man who still gives his Clash, Gen X and Television CDs the occasional spin.

Even by the standards of the genre – and the musicianship of many of the bands was greater than was widely appreciated at the time – it is pretty rough stuff. That, indeed, may well be the point. Continue reading