Advance releases should act as a teaser, a sonic signpost to a forth-coming bigger release, a taste of things to come. And on the face of it that is exactly what Stop Talking was in regards to this album as it landed in the review pile only a few days previous. But it is a curious record, a teaser certainly but its dichotomous nature, an opening minute of aggressive punk-metal that their Bay Area home patch has traded on since the early eighties, followed by a longer payout formed of drifting guitar lines and restrained vocals left many questions unanswered too. What it did tell me though was to expect an onslaught of raw-edged, punk infused, hard and heavy music that blended simple progressions and direct sonic salvos with technical guitar work, but to also expect the unexpected, the odd musical trick or trap to throw me off balance. And for all the strangeness of Stop Talking, it did its job perfectly as that is exactly what I got.
Summon The Juices is a visceral blast of early punk, high-octane rock, the vibe of early post-hardcore brutalism and occasionally a few interludes and inclusions which make you realise that this is no mere pastiche or plagiarism but a group of people celebrating the rawness and revolution of heavy, underground scenes before they found any traction overground. The sound of D.I.Y. before it was even a thing.
Girlfriend Dive-Bye is a glorious garage-band racket, the sound of low-slung guitars, cocky swagger and attitude made into music, as heavy as any metal wannabes, as cool and inspiring as any first wave punk and as energising as the most infectious, alternative rock band. All of the Time is a brilliant, mid-paced groover, one that reminds my of that most cultish of past bands The Hollywood Brats (if only in attitude, and award yourself additional points if you just nodded in recognition of this long-lost band) and Penny For Your Thoughts seems to highlight their West-Coast roots.
Summon The Juices is a fascination collection of music, one that, knowingly or otherwise, seems to gather around it references from scenes and locations, eras and genres that rarely get to hang out in each others company. It’s an album which joints dots between the 60’s Detroit underground and the shattered edge of the British electric blues scene of the same decade. Between West Coast 80’s alternative metal and 70’s London punks. Between DC Hardcore and the harsh sound of Oi! music in early 80’s Europe. And for all it’s past references, it is exactly right for the current climate. It may not fit fashionably or be what the music press is telling you to buy but it is exactly what you need at the moment, whether you realise it or not. As a famous band once said… “if you try sometimes you might find, you get what you need.” And boy do we need a band like this right now.