2011 saw me getting deeper into garage bands. What better way to close out my year than with Future Virgins, who blend garage brevity and song structures with pop punk melodies. The Chattanooga, TN band mixes up a garage influence without feeling nearly as formulaic, due in large part to the punk that oozes over the surface. Sure, the songs are short and sweet, but they alternate tempos, mix up the placement of the harmonies, and bring a variety of emotions from longing to celebration to reflection. There’s a sloppiness at the core, but the melodies that are layered over the top give a peppy, almost clean and power-pop veneer.
A song such as “Waiting to Disappear” follows a poppy intro with backing harmonies that spring up just before the refrain. Still, beyond the clean vocals, the guitars clash in a choppy rhythm. In the following “Nowadays” the group vocals again override any coarseness, setting the tone for a big, powerful ending where the melodies are strongly established with a dramatic breakdown. Pulling more from old school garage, the band also features a lead guitar—while nothing that warrants a spotlighted solo, the lead gives an extra spice to their songs, breaking up the formula and giving each of the thirteen songs their own feel. A song such as “Boys Choir” is a good example of the style, playing an effective, hooky guitar line that melds with a big chorus. The vocal style gives a blast of positivity and the tempo rarely wavers. The song tops out at a hair over two sun-blasted minutes. There’s a notably 1960s influence behind the songs, but with a bit of rough-around-the-edges production and a DIY ethic that, if I really had to dumb down my synopsis to a few words I might call it “a more punk Marked Men.” I kind of wish I hadn’t put that in print, though. Such comparisons aren’t my preferred technique.
While it’s the band’s first full-length, it has the feel of veterans. The songs are concise, the tone is clear, and the production is confident. It’s both catchy and unique, and this easily would have placed within my 2011 best of lists, had I gotten around to hearing it before Christmas. The lyrics themselves aren’t all that positive, but the music itself never lets up. Recommended for fans of garage punk and pop punk alike.
8.5 / 10
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