Every once and awhile I hear a band that I want to become one of the biggest bands in the world. Some bands write songs that are too massive for underground 500-cap venues. Earlier this year, I was introduced to the budding UK pop-punk outfit Creeper and I just had this feeling that they are really gonna blow up within the next year or so. The first time I heard The Golden Age of Bullshit, the debut project from PARTYBABY, I got that same feeling. This project (I call it that because at less than thirty minutes, I’m legitimately confused if this is supposed to be a really long EP or a really short LP) is one of those records that hit me instantly the moment I threw it on. I’m gonna spoil my opinion on this early on and just say it: I love this. It hits all the right buttons a great rock band should hit.
Without breaking down exactly why I love every single track on this, let’s just say that this group draws from every possible pool of influence that I would love. The track “I Don’t Wanna Wait” is far and away one of the best songs I’ve heard all year, with shades of everything from the Ramones to Nirvana to the Beach Boys all wrapped in a furious clanging punk backdrop. “California” seems like an intentional homage to the classic Smashing Pumpkins track “Today”, down to a climax featuring a familiar chiming riff above a similarly stirring chord progression. It’s the type of song that feels like gloriously basking in warm sunlight. Both of these songs will probably end up on my list of favorite songs of 2016 at the end of the year. Closing track, “Overload (Final)” is a beautifully dynamic power ballad with shimmering strings and glockenspiel in the first half before a rousing, singalong worthy, lighters in the air jam with a clever reprise of several choruses from the previous songs over a shared chord sequence.
But it’s not just the songwriting here, though, that appeals to me, it’s also the overall sound. These guys play with a level of ferocity that most indie rock bands are too timid to attempt. The din that these guys cloak their songs in really captures the sound of one of those tiny but densely crowded gigs you go to where you’re mere feet from the drummer and you’re worried his crash cymbal is gonna fly up and wham you across the face. It’s all incredibly hard hitting but loose at the same time. Many of the takes heard on this record sound like they’re just on the brink of falling apart but never do, a quality that I find common amongst a lot of great punk music. It’s that feeling of just barely being able to hang on to the steering wheel as the mph just ramps up and up, and it lends excitement to these performances. The production sort of shape shifts depending on the feel, the quieter moments being cast in a lo-fi, audible air conditioner running type room sound, all the way to the noisy yet discernible chaos of the louder moments, with little bits of studio chatter between tracks.
This is isn’t as in depth as my last couple of reviews, but there’s honestly not much else I can say that wouldn’t read like over-indulgent gushing (as if the review hasn’t already turned to that). Seriously, this record should be heard by anyone with a passing interest in modern rock music. At only twenty-six minutes, this record comes in, smashes everything in its wake in the most joyous of ways, then dips out before you really know what happened. And I couldn’t really give a higher recommendation for this one.
-I Don’t Wanna Wait
-News Years 2014 on a Beach (Felicity)
Released on September 2, 2016 by Warner Bros. Records