Term limits: They were a defining issue in politics in the late '90s. Congressmen, senators, representatives in state legislatures and city councilmembers blew a lot of wind about the need for term limits, many swearing they'd retire from politics after a mere two terms. Now it's 2003, and those officials who promised an early shelf life are reneging on their promises. Usually, they cite "unfinished work."
Ikara Colt's made a term-limit pledge of its own. While it doesn't hold some minor representative title, it's repeatedly promised to dissolve within five years to keep its music from stagnating. It formed in 1999, and had its first single two years later. One way or another, if that promise is kept, the band's days are numbered. If it keeps up with releases such as the Basic Instructions EP, though, it won't have any business left unfinished to tempt it to weasel out of its commitments like its political counterparts have.
Although the British act only comes forth with three new songs and a reworking of "May B 1 Day" from its 2002 Chat and Business, Ikara Colt gets more done on this EP than many of its contemporaries do in a couple years. Taking art-school inventiveness, the band moves and shakes punk into new forms. More in line with the much ballyhooed New York scene than the rest of the Epitaph Roster, Ikara Colt outdoes itself with this album. Instead of rattling the same old cages that every other punk act does, the band turns to new directions. From the electronic dance beat that propels "May B 1 Day #2" as if it were the bastard child of Le Tigre and McLusky to the noisy racket of "Bring It To Me" that's one part (International) Noise Conspiracy and one part art-rock headache, Basic Instructions doesn't waste its time trying to convince listeners it's a product of Southern California. Throw in a minimalist number that takes eighth-note bass lines reminiscent of Joy Division and merges them with foreboding electronics, and it's pretty clear that with this EP, Ikara Colt's ready to take the classic fuck-it-up punk ethos in any direction it sees fit.
Self-destruction? That's a thing to worry about with the future. One thing's for sure, however, if Ikara Colt doesn't pull a term-limits trick on its fans, it's going to leave a pretty darn slick body of work to cover its casket if everything from here on out delivers the promise of Basic Instructions. -