There is something especially engaging about trios. I first became obsessed with the idea in the 1980s due to Big Flame. Slimmed down line-ups bring an element of clarity and demand that everyone’s contribution must be essential. Amongst post-punk acts of this size, the most notable have a frenetic quality, from The Minutemen through Big Black, Nomeansno and Dawson. In recent years, Bilge Pump has kept the trio flame burning brightly and now that they have slowed to an amicable halt, two thirds of them (guitarist Joseph O’Sullivan and shoeless drummer Neil Turpin) joined with bassist and vocalist, Claire Adams, formerly of Nape Neck and Beards, to form another three-piece, Objections.

Having already established themselves as one of the ultimate live acts, a reputation cemented with their session for Riley and Coe’s 6Music show, their debut album, ‘Optimistic Sizing’ brings together all the qualities to be expected from their antecedents. In fact, it delivers constant surprises over the course of its ten tracks with its command of light and shade, a broad palate of subtlety and heaviness combining often within the same song. There is a broad sweep of adventure and exploration, moments of wild abandon and nods of quiet appreciation. While most of the music I listen to now uses a wide range of instrumentations, they show what can be achieved with the unadorned vocals, bass, guitar and drums format.

Opener, ‘Idiot Fill’, one of two tracks that weigh in over the five-minute mark, begins with staccato guitar and vocals, each line of lyrics amounting to three words or less before developing into a more fluid groove and finally reverting to stop-start rhythms. Their first single, ‘BSA Day’, bad sex and argument day, takes place amidst eye rolls and thousand-yard stares yet Adams’ vocal delivery has a lightness to it which, when accompanied by such wonderful guitar lines and drumming, seems jovial and inspires irresistible smiles.

With its rumbling bass and bursts of guitar, ‘Nicely Done’ bristles with the aggression reflected in the line “Violence seeking violence seeking violence seeking violence seeking”. ‘The Lurker’ has a lurching rhythm and another mischievous lyric (“I wish I had gall / To spray paint a penis on the prized artwork”). There is impressive delicacy as the song dissolves into a gentle and rather lovely melody. ‘Excuses’ starts broody and percussive before O’Sullivan launches into his noisiest, most feedback laden guitar outing and Adams’ vocals are at their most abrasive.

‘Small Changes’ begins with bass and vocals lining up with Turpin’s ever-flexible drumming before improvisational guitar joins in. ‘Hymns’ is another highlight, a perfect combination of weaving guitar line, intriguing lyric (“Wear your face like Mathurine”) and flamboyant cymbal work. ‘TJOMT’ references the album’s title and is notable for the self-sabotaging and bemused musing “By breaking my leg I won’t have to go anywhere / I admire my own thinking”. There is a lightness to the vocal delivery and the way it blends with crazy drum rhythms and wild guitars. In its tale of performative online royal mourning, ‘Space News’ matches the economy of its bassline with extravagant guitar and the sort of abrupt ending that would keep a DJ on tenterhooks.

‘Optimistic Sizing’ ends with its lengthiest track at five and a half minutes, ‘Word’s Strongest’, a blend of messy and cynical sentiments (“I’ll die then you’ll miss me / Adore me and forgive me for /The several times I boozily / Defecated on your bedroom floor”), bass and drums holding it together before allowing O’Sullivan’s guitar to explode over the top in a feast of heaviness. It completes a brilliant debut album which proves that while there may be bands like Objections, no one else does post-punk with quite their sense of verve and musical command.

Objections: Optimistic Sizing – Out 26th April 2024 but available now for pre-order (Wrong Speed Records)

– Idiot Fill (

I was editor of the long-running fanzine, Plane Truth, and have subsequently written for a number of publications. While the zine was known for championing the most angular independent sounds, performing in recent years with a community samba percussion band helped to broaden my tastes so that in 2021 I am far more likely to be celebrating an eclectic mix of sounds and enthusing about Made Kuti, Anthony Joseph, Little Simz and the Soul Jazz Cuban compilations as well as Pom Poko and Richard Dawson.