Reading Scene Point Blank can pay off. A year or so ago we streamed No Sun No Tan, which was the first I’d heard of LA’s Neighborhood Brats.
And I dug it.
September sees the release of Recovery, the band’s first proper LP, released on Deranged. It gets things off with the direct “Year of the Brat,” a song indicative of what the band is about, aware of their identity and their sound, fully embracing traditional ‘80s LA punk. It’s driving punk rock, DIY in production: rough and tumble—which is befitting of their relentless ADD rhythms. It pounds and drives while Jenny Angelillo and the band sing and play power chords over the top. It’s not all that unique in that sense, but they embrace it and they do it right, as explained in “One Wasted Year” when Angelillo sings, “Fuck the kids/ fuck the new.” The band wears their influence on their sleeves but avoid sounding derivative. As a whole, the lyrics are socio-political and direct, blending first person and wider issues.
That angry, ripping punk is at its best in songs like “Complete Mess” and “50 Shades of Fuck You,” short blasts filled with buzzsaw guitars, feedback, and reverb vocals. It’s a style that easily loses power on record due to similarities between songs, but Neighborhood Brats counter with some change-ups.
“Suburbia” is dark and a little brooding, followed by the 1:23 surf instrumental “Escape the City,” which is then followed-up by “Painted and Gutted.” Another more ominous song, this is a surprising change of direction in that is recalls Blondie. It’s more haunting than dark, but with a peppy rhythm that could even be danced to. It’s unexpected but, ultimately, it’s one of the standout tracks on the record as a result. I’d still rather hear the band shredding their fingers on their instruments, but you can’t go all-out 100% the time.
The energy from the band in palpable and it’s impossible to sit still to this record. Energy and anger, specifically combining the two into a single outlet, is exactly what this record is about, and it thrives at that.
7.5 / 10
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