This split 7” from a US band and a UK band carries a surprisingly unified sound over its four songs, two from each band. The record starts with Raging Nathans and their whoa-oh pop-punk that sounds like it’s just a hair faster than it’s supposed to be – in a good way. Listening to their two songs brings a number of influences to mind from NOFX to The Copyrights to Vacation Bible School. It’s good stuff that’s pretty crisp in production while carrying a message over the whoa-ohs and harmonies.
Side two is from Wonk Unit, who SPB streamed last year. It’s toned down from the fast and soaring sound of Raging Nathans but still pairs well, playing in a similar key with a big emphasis on melody. Wonk Unit’s two songs here are both more minimal in sound with some elements of ska-punk without ever falling into that trap. The lyrics are alternately challenging and simple in a contradiction that adds depth on closer look: it first sounds like basic imagery focused storytelling but there’s a bigger theme at play in both tracks. The melody of the final song, “We Came Together,” is about a half-step away from one of the best lyrical melodies of the year during the refrain when singer, “Daddy Wonk,” delivers the line before the song title each time around. It’s easily memorable and with a cracked emotion and, then, it falters in the step of the quirky beat and reinforcing the emotion within.
Overall this 7” is a really nice pairing of two DIY bands from different continents. Each has a nice clean, poppish-base but with more substance and enough variety in their songwriting to isolate them from the genre grinder.