Road Trip is an EP which brawls with the ear but has more fun and mischief in mind than antagonism as it offloads its more than satisfying punk rock passion. Working with the same seeds found in the likes of NOFX, Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies, and Millencolin, Ventura County hailing Hippos of Doom is a band which arguably does not stand apart from other similarly fuelled punk bands but has a charm and character to their sound which does make them noticeable. The EP is not without flaws and moments where maybe the band should not have gone but you cannot dismiss or dislike their energy and appetite, or not find a pleasure in their vibrant release.
Released via Veritas Vinyl and Thumper Punk Records, Road Trip first lights up the ear with Old School Rocking Crew, a track which does what it says on the tin, riffs and group shouts rifling the senses whilst the bass dances around with magnetic craft and boisterous enterprise as it skirts the lead vocals which themselves offer a raw yet honest inducement to join in and rally up limbs and energy. Though it does not leave anything truly memorable once departing from its barely glimpsing two minute length, the song is an accomplished and promising slice of punk rock with pop punk whispers to its presence.
The following Wool Brigade riles up the air with sonic abrasiveness before uncaging another rush of hungry rhythms and exhausting riffs. Once more the bass impresses and the vocals add a caustic rub to the encounter whilst the guitars vein its narrative with melodic acidity. Though like its predecessor there is nothing which lingers long after such the quality and appeal of bass and drums with the guitars in close quarter, it makes satisfying company.
Holiday Road is a cover song which stampedes across the ear with enthusiasm and unbridled devilment, easily recruiting full involvement from the listener though the vocal harmonies is one thing the band might have worked on or alternatively really taken to town for comic effect. Despite there less than successful presence the track is a feisty and riotous slab of fun and opens up the devilry in the band which was only suggested within the earlier songs.
The best moments of the release come with the final two songs, firstly from Judge Not, a track which rumbles on more impressive rhythms and bass courting of the ear whilst the melodic flames leave a hunger with their heated colour and unbridled appetite to rile and ignite the passions. Like all good punk songs, it is simple yet smartly crafted with hooks and rhythmic temptation alongside quarrelsome but inviting vocals, though here there is also that riveting bass call setting the song apart from most others.
The closing The Royal Philharmonic Goes to the Bathroom moves from an opening stomp into another squalling explosion of rapacious energy driven by riffs and drums. With vocals, solo and group, at their best and a jagged guitar persuasion breaking out at times, the track makes claims for best on the release though has to play second best to its predecessor. Both songs make a strong end to the EP and ensure the band is on the horizon of ones to watch.
For good solid punk rock with energy to its fun and intent, Road Trip makes a satisfying option which maybe does not come with blazes of originality but stokes up plenty of satisfaction with its company.
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