It wouldn’t be quite accurate to say I always got these guys mixed up with Afghan Whigs. I knew pretty well who Afghan Whigs were, didn’t care for them, and had a bunch of friends who loved them. But both bands’ names reference a Middle Eastern country or demonym and somewhere along the line I must have ingested the fact that New Bomb Turks are also from Ohio, and so it’s not too far a leap to just them assume that New Bomb Turks are probably exactly like Afghan Whigs.
But I’m happy to say they’re not. With a super revved tempo and a care-free fun-loving attitude that is evident in the hillbilly punk style of the music as well as the celebratory, this-is-who-I-am lyrics, New Bomb Turks are way too fun and happy to ever have to suffer the indignity of being compared to Afghan Whigs. Add a cocksure groove and sped-up, dirty hair metal solos that ape the song’s vocal melody, and you’ve got a rip roaring party that pushes along at a consistent 80 miles an hour from start to finish, with a slight, welcome slow down for the “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”-esque final track, “Wrest Your Hands.”
The closest band I can think of like these guys is Reverend Horton Heat, but New Bomb Turks can really write songs and don’t rely on gimmicks so much. There’s a bluesy, honky tonk feel throughout, most notably in that last track and in the piano of “Professional Againster,” but I also hear nods to Faster Pussycat’s “Bathroom Wall” in “Telephone Number,” not just in the reference to a phone number, but also in the story being told from one stranger to another (or many) in a phone conversation as well as the mix of self-love and self-hate in the call recipient.
Due to the relentless speed and heavy mix of the drums, this isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea. Most will want just a sample. Even I get a bit tired by the end, but thankfully their sequencing ends with the best song followed by the slowest. This could be stronger if they’d lightened the load by taking off the tracks they buried in the middle of the second half. But hey, if you need an adrenaline burst over the course of an entire album, give this a try.
[LATE UPDATE] You know this has a lot of horns on it, which seems like something worth mentioning, and also makes them sound a lot like Rocket From The Crypt, which also seems like something I should have mentioned.
Mix: “Telephone Numbrrr”
Really Like: “Bachelor’s High,” “Professional Againster,” “Cultural Elite Sign-Up Sheet,” “Jukebox Lean,” “Jeers Of A Clown,” “Look Alive Jive,” “Drop What You’re Doin'”
Like: “Hammerless Nail,” “Staring Down The Gift Horse,” “Shoot The Offshoot,” “Wrest Your Hands”
Song Notes: After the jump
- Hammerless Nail
- Bachelor’s High – great riffs
- Professional Againster – honky tonk piano. has that cow punk feel of oh god what was that rodeo hillbilly punk band…something about the devil? reverend horton heat
- Cultural Elite Sign-Up Sheet –
- Jukebox Lean – “I got the jukebox lean!”
- Jeers Of A Clown
- Look Alive Jive – Tired yet? We’re only halfway through. Here’s some motherfucking drums for you
- Staring Down The Gift Horse –
- Shoot The Offshoot –
- Drop What You’re Doin’ –
- Telephone Numbrrr – “Call my mom just to relieve my guilt/Leave your message at the accusin’ tone”
- Wrest Your Hands – love the “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” open to this