They’re from LA. You can hear LA on this album. It screams it. In the peculiar way bands from around here might not all sound the same but all sound the same. Somehow. Something in the water perhaps. That was a plan once.
And it still amazes me that you can do that with a guitar. That wired perfect time mechanoid buzz saw amphetamine jaw aching strum. It starts this album. The second guitar comes in with three Dead Kennedys chords. Then the drums with their doing that thing they do and we’re off.
Singing about a fallout on Fallout the two singer-guitarists Tracy Walker and Jeff Charreaux remind you of how much better two are than one. Each singing on their own together in that pair of voices that Jefferson Airplane’s Paul and Grace and B52’s Kate and Cindy got very right.
The rhythm section doesn’t slack either. Drummer Craig Tyrka and Bass player Mark Fletcher should push to have a bonus remix of this album with just the rhythm section playing. Drum and Bass on that kids.
How to describe Walker Brigade then? A Hi-Energy Angular Post Punk Rock Guitar Band With A Modern Twist? Well, I am wearing sunglasses.
They describe themselves as serving up anthemic despair with savoir-faire. They’ve been serving it up since 2014.
“Anthemic Despair with Savoir Faire” Should be on a banner. It probably is somewhere.
This album grabs you by the lapels and screams itself into your face through permanently curled lips and sneers with rage if you dare to flinch at the onslaught.
And weaving through the rage, all the melodies, the songs, the moments of brilliance hiding behind endless anthems, like a high-speed collage of all those sixties Archie, True Love, and Pimpled magazine covers set to music that screams its betrayal with every beat. The highlights. Where to start. “No” A first-person stark warning to the young of the canyon. All full of confessional anger and blame.
“What Is Wrong With Me.” Is all teenage angst pillow biting please don’t leave me fuck off then I hate you you’ll come back you always do. As the song indeed, says itself.
“Shake Shimmy” is glorious. Like a snarling, spitting really pissed Patti Smith on cheap speed, working with the resident GoGo band at The Whisky in ’69. Just when things were going downhill.
“Choker” Is the single. It’s almost got The Beatles Rain bass line. Almost. It’s not quite though and lopes in and around it to shake free of the fabulous and go into something else entirely. It sounds sedated. In a good way. “now I’m gonna choke on you” You bet you are.
“I Wanna Destroy You” repeats itself almost forever, until it drills into you that that’s all you ever really need to say. When that’s really all you wanna do. It should be part of a primal scream therapy aid. Like whale noise is to the hippies is. Or don’t they do that anymore?
There’s a song called “Judy Holliday”. I can’t work out what or who Judy Holliday is. But it’s probably dirty. It sounds it.
And “Tower” kicks in with guitars playing reverse loops forward. The lyrics could be cut-ups of scraps from diaries, conversations, and voicemails, anything with words. To the sky! “Fancy Boots” made a mess of me. You and me both baby. In a weird way, I feel I’ve lived this song. Somewhere, somehow, in a dim and grimy time, fancy boots sure made a fool out of me. They ever made a fool out of you?
The album proper closes with “I’m Tired”. It’s all Marlene Dietrich in the Blue something or another. Mel Brook wrote this. And it’s in Blazing Saddles. Tracy Walker channels the part to perfection.
“Let’s face it, everything below the waist is kaput” she sighs on the last line.
Walker Brigade could be the best band in the world. Don’t be the last to find out.