The Olympia, Wash., punk-rock trio couldn't have picked a better
name. Bang! It's fast, loud, explosive and short. Bang-bang! See?
Just like the group's latest EP release, Call and Response.
Bang! Got you again. The Bangs will get you every time.
With unstoppable energy and a great knack for crafting catchy
melodies, the six-song record (i.e. shot of adrenaline) races, makes
messes and shouts right in your ear. Produced by Unwound mastermind
Justin Trosper, it's imperfect and tough and pissed-off. It's
punk-rock you wanna speed with, jump with and pump your fist with.
The title track, which opens the CD, bleeds with a racing intensity
so quick it seems the last line might catch up and run over the
first, possibly due to the bitter rage that feeds it. Expressing
disgust at what's all too familiar to us ladies, lead
singer/guitarist Sarah Utter sneers, "Do you know just how it feels/
To always get called out/ Every minute, every day/ They wanna drag
you down/ Into a world of ugly words/For all the pretty things/ A
girl has got to hide away/ To walk by quietly."
The Bangs Utter, bassist/vocalist Maggie Vail and drummer
Peter David Connelly mesh pop-punk's infectious
lightheartedness, hard rock's mean, dark edginess and riot grrrl's
informed and in-your-face attitude for a sound that's both fun and
energetic at the same time it's thoughtful and strong. The lovable,
airy and uplifting "Kinda Good" is, without being either pretentious
or cynical, a flat-out, lovey-dovey ballad that you can't help but
adore. "Rainy days go away/ Yeah you know it's true/ When I'm with
you," Utter sings. Sappy but cute it's the sort of song that
makes you suddenly fawn over the little but meaningful things in life.
Driven by a guitar line quite reminiscent of Black Sabbath's
"Paranoid," the dark and grinding closer "Dirty Knives" features the
piercing back-up shrieks of Vail's sister, Tobi (you might recall her
from Bikini Kill), and, in spite of the playful handclaps, feels
disturbed and desperate. "The graves we dig so deep/ With secrets
that we keep/ We cry ourselves to sleep," Utter sings, sounding both
urgent and acquiescent.
So we've got adrenaline, love, and knives what more do you
want from a badass punk-rock record? Bang! Works every time.