Unhinged - Life Can Wait
Stourbridge punk with more hooks and attitude than a Johnny Rotten fishing trip
Words: Phil Weller
Gene Simmons believes that rock is dead. Or at least he tells the media as much. However, anyone with half a brain though knows that it’s an exclamation far removed from the truth and that rock music is, although far less dominant in the mainstream that it has been in previous decades, in 2017 a genre hardly short on numbers. There are more bands than ever vying for your attention – and your money – than ever before via Bandcamp, Youtube, Soundcloud, Spotify and the rest. But sifting through the noise for something tangible, something worthy of your attention during days which always feel far too short considering what needs to be done and what you’d like to do, is where the problem lies. Stourbridge’s DIY punk rockers Unhinged, having released two EPs and two singles since their 2015 formation only makes that problem more…well, noisy.
The band score relatively low in the categories of originality and shock factor, that much is true, but that was never the intention with the band. They play a punk infused brand of rock n’ roll that has been about for donkey’s years, but they do it with fire in their bellies and piece together an interesting blend of influences to make this more than just another punk rock record. They smash out songs like they’re shits after a buffet. They don’t mess about and the fact they work at sufh a dizzying pace is beyond admirable.
Opener Rock Is Dead is a short and fast blow to the head, vocalist Mike Hodges instantly setting the scene with his rasping, impassioned vocals atop a primal slab of Ramones turned up to 11 guitar work and the wonderfully bullish FU, where Hodges screams the “fuck you” 17 times in the first 30 seconds are two examples of the band at their most entertainingly stupid. It isn’t intelligent but it’s raucous and animalistic; these are songs made for the live environment and this is a band which cuts their teeth on HECK styled, carnage-infused live shows.
But dive deeper into the album and there are many surprises lurking. Feel This builds on a haunted country lick, working its way towards a raging climax while the anthemic, skater punk of Steal Your Lover benefits from extra lashings of Oasis. Break Out nods its head to the rap metal of Rage Against The Machine, Reaper shoves metal up the arse of a punk song while Single’s verse claims the title for ‘riff of the record’ with a rollicking groovy lick. Dave Kiteley gives his snare a right spanking on the track too.
Bitter Blues shuffles into a more sombre and mellow territory while the Brit Pop of the title track could easily be mistaken for a Blur bootleg if it weren’t for Hodges aggressive and punishing vocal performance.
In short, Life Can Wait is nothing you haven’t heard in some guise before, but the fire with which they play, the energy that bleeds out of their music and the DIY grittiness of it all makes it a damnably enjoyable record, Turn it up and break stuff.
The band play an album launch show on the 29th September at ClapTrap Stourbridge
You can pre-order the album here - http://unhingeduk.bigcartel.com/product/preorder-life-can-wait-cd