Sometimes a band comes along to ignite all the personal fires inside and leave one counting the days to the next musical adrenaline rush to come from their creativity. UK punks Dead Retinas is such a band and their Dead Retinas vs. The World EP, an invigorating burst of essential punk rock to fire up the engines of passion. The quartet create punk rock which is honest, aggressive, and vibrant: their sound steeped in the essentials of punk and fuelled by the energies of modern rock. The resulting experience unbridled pleasure.
The band consists of vocalist Sam Hendo, guitarist/vocalist Jack Thompson, bassist/vocalist CJ Smith who all knew each other since high school, and Lee O’Connor on drums. Originally called Hounds, until they found out about another band with the same name, the band took the Dead Retinas name from something actor Nick Frost said on the commentary track to the film Paul. To date the band has impressed with ease through the sharing of stages with the likes of Four Short Of A Miracle, Saving Syenna, The City Divided, ZsilentZ, and Falter to name a few.
Dead Retinas vs. The World is their debut release and a mighty powerful four track beast of an introduction it is too. It is punk rock at its best, confrontational, relentless, and heart driven. Their music recalls the best elements of bands such as Cancer Bats, NOFX, and Pinhead Gunpowder alongside the fire of Rage Against The Machine and Red Tape. It is all twisted into their own incendiary powder keg of bruising and explosive individuality as the band emerges as one of the best new entrants within punk for a long time.
The release ruptures the atmosphere from the start with Pure Gold, a track with heart splintering riffs and combative rhythms. The vocals hit every scorched and aggressive range perfectly to offer as much texture and rich diversity as the sounds around them. From the choppy greedy riffs, the uncompromising beats, to the growling guttural bass sound, the song corrupts and enthrals the senses for the deepest satisfaction. The band is also unafraid to bring extra treats in to the mix such as the burning guitar solo which simply flames away gloriously on top of already inspired raging inferno of addiction.
The following A 20 Note Ain’t For Coke finds a higher plateau to leap and explode upon with its infectious hypnotic hooked riffs and magnetic breath. It offers an old school flavour to bring thoughts of seventies UK bands The Lurkers, The Outcasts, and early Undertones to the fore whilst chewing away with a slight hardcore hunger. Brief and uncomplicated, the song is an immense blast of sheer instinctive satisfaction to leave one breathless and eager for much more.
I’ve Got A Nerve brings a slight ska fusion to its muscular frame though it is mere spicery soon overwhelmed by the raw energy of the track. Arguably the less effective of the four, it is still a song to leave a benchmark for most other bands to aim for and ensure the appetite is still ravenous for more of the same.
The release closes with the excellent Hang The Bastards. It starts with just a delicious gnarly bass and thumping drums union, their predatory companionship alone boiling up an addiction like pleasure. Into its stride the song develops a scorched bluesy swagger which cores the punk aggression and vocal forcefulness, its groove hypnotic magnificence. There is even a little tinge of stoner rock to the presence of the song, though its metallic intensity is, especially at its climax, RATM spawn.
Dead Retinas vs. The World EP is outstanding, one of the best debuts in a long time. If punk rock triggers the deepest rampages of joy within then Dead Retinas might just have you squealing with orgasmic delight.
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