Straight from the noxious refinery air of sunny, smoggy El Segundo, CA, skate punk veteran Jim Lindberg of Pennywise and his band of cohorts bring us their newest project WRATHS. Channeling the
ghosts of punk’s past, WRATHS combines the dark guitar driven tones of T.S.O.L and Dag Nasty and the glaring sun bleached angst of the Descendents and Circle Jerks. Their no bullshit sound puts
them right at home next to a faded SST sticker on a rusty strand cruiser.
The band which includes Steve McCall (1208) on guitar, Chris Kranes (1208, The Darlings) on bass, and Andrew Murphy (The Darlings) on drums set out to pay homage to the heroes of the 1st and 2nd wave, not only in song craft but in recording. Tracked over just a few days with minimal production at Screaming Leopard Studios in Hermosa Beach you can here echoes of Black Flag and Big Drill Car coming through the grooves but the band definitely has their own unique sound and approach. It’s raw and real, something that is sorely lacking in today’s over-produced sea of cookie cutter soundscapes.
The band and their producer Patrick Burkholder are firm believers in the plug in and go ethos and the songwriting is stripped down and honest.
Starting with blast in the face opener of “Oh God,” lyrically the group lets us know they’re desperate to get out of the foul air of L.A. car exhaust and meth fumes. “OH GOD! I NEED… I NEED
SOMETHING TO HELP ME BREATHE!” It continues into the short but definitely not sweet cry for help that is “What Can You Do?” which clocks in at a very punk rock one minute and thirty-five seconds.
This isn’t “Hotel California,” this is a seedy motel near the airport where the sheets stick to your leg and you’ll be taking bed bugs home with you. “I’m A Target” is a gut punch. “War Drums” is a threat you
shouldn’t take lightly. Just like you shouldn’t take lightly that drunk in the corner with a broken bottle in his hand giving you the evil eye. He means business.
Consider WRATHS self-titled LP a testament to a bygone era of punk music where freedom of expression was promoted and not controlled by suits, and no one took two weeks to get guitar sounds. Call it what you want: Primal scream therapy imprisoned on wax! Aural rebellion in WAV form! Now for your convenience WRATHS’ new self-titled debut album can be spun on your turntable or downloaded directly to the safe and sterile home record store you call a computer. Free from incense, strangers and drummer wanted ads! We’d love to tell you what we think WRATHS sounds like but what good would that do? In the end it’s up to you, the listener to decipher and judge…and you will judge.
Regardless, WRATHS have arrived. Their sound harkens back to a simpler time, one with street riots and actor cowboys acting as presidents. WRATHS aren’t a movement. WRATHS aren’t here to
educate or entertain. They are a symptom and cause of our toxic waste, a leaky scab. Enjoy it like you would a diet Coke mixed with rum from a plastic generic brand jug stolen under your coat from
Safeway. You’ll thank yourself later that you didn’t go for the pricier stuff. WRATHS are a cheap, dirty buzz. Enjoy!