Top Sounds - W

WATERWEED - Diffuse {Lockjaw} PODCAST PLAYED Originally released in April 2019, this is a vinyl reissue of this Osaka, Japan band’s third album, that kicks off with a squeal of feedback and a down-tuned guitar before a mighty TEXAS IS THE REASON-esque riff opens first track ‘Reflection’. 12 tracks follow that combine that TEXAS... flow with something much more aggressive but equally tight - think GOOD RIDDANCE, SHELTER and PROPAGANDHI with a splash of SHAI HULUD intensity - very much a Revelation Recs circa late 90s sound. Plenty of highlights be it ‘Day After Day’, the frantic ‘Music Is Music’ that also has a great set of heartfelt lyrics and ‘Your Story Is End’ which could be the most aggressive on the album while highlight is a battle between ‘Counterfeit’ that has some soaring en masse backing vocals that would put BAD RELIGION to shame and closer ‘Grateful Song’ that starts acoustically and then detonates into a track encapsulating all those references above. Really well produced, clinically played and passionate HC that has enough variation to hold the attention throughout and hasn’t even got a sniff of tiresome Metal-sounding breakdowns. (18.05.21)

WESTERN ADDICTION - Frail Bray {Fat Wreck} Album #3 from this now long-term Fat band (although it has taken them about 15 years to get there). You get 11 tracks of inventive and intelligent melodic Hardcore which seem much more structured and enthralling than some of the band’s previous work. Best tracks were ‘Lurchers’ that’s a chugging juggernaut with a great breakdown and killer chorus, the damaged BLACK FLAGian core of ‘Utter Despair and ‘Rose’s Hammer II’ that starts lurching along at a relative mid-pace but has plenty of musical muscle recalling DANZIG in parts and a rather clever baroque middle section but best track has to be opener ‘The Leopard And The Juniper’ that barrels along on a riff that could destroy an entire continent and a structure that is both tough as nails but melodic. Lyrically this is clever stuff too, lots of interesting references and thankfully they never dive into that experimental Metal stuff the likes of PEARS do. Probably one of the best on Fat in 2020. (18.01.21)

WYLDLIFE - Year Of The Snake {Wicked Cool} PODCAST PLAYED New York City four-piece, new to me, but apparently this is their fourth album! What’s more, it’s a fucking cracker loaded with Power-Pop moves played with a Punk Rock ‘n’ Roll zeal. Opener ‘Death Bed’ sets things perfectly - think BRIEFS, early GREEN DAY and CHEAP TRICK (also see closer ‘The Falcon’ for the most obvious CT influence). Another ten tracks follow, retaining that sound with highlights being ‘Kiss And Tell’ that has a sauntering chorus and stutters along on a riff that ELASTICA would have pilfered, ‘Get Well’ that swaggers like mid-period REPLACEMENTS and the ferocious, pogo-Tastic ‘Sacre Bleu’ while best track could be ‘Crime Of The Scene’ that’s Power-Pop in the way BIG STAR did it. Not even mentioned ‘Keeping Up With C.T.’ That I am sure Evan Dando would sell a kidney for. A totally thrilling release - maybe the big surprise of 2020 in fact. It’s polished but sneering, melodic yet snotty and generally genuinely thrilling. (06.02.21)

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