The press release from Brutal Panda Records for the debut album from US trio Nomad Stones suggests that their “punk-infused blast of rock n’ roll sounds like Dinosaur Jr. meets Black Flag.” It is a description which it is hard to dismiss though throughout the eight-track encounter with the New England band we could not help thinking this is what The Dickies might have sounded like if they had slowed down, got grungy, and embraced the raw rock ‘n’ roll of Johnny Thunders. Numerous times the punk pop mischief of the LA punksters is encroached within the Nomad Stones album but always infused into their bubblegumless and fiercely rousing punk ‘n’ roll.
Formed in 2015, Nomad Stones consists of guitarist/vocalist Adam McGrath (Cave In, Zozobra, Clouds), drummer JR Conners (Cave In, Doomriders, ex-Goatsnake, etc.), and bassist Erik Szyska. With already shows under their belts alongside Mutoid Man, United Nations and numerous others, the threesome has certainly stirred intrigue and attention, and easy to hear why now their first release is spreading its ferocious yet contagious temptation.
Wrapped in the art work of Converge’s Jacob Bannon, the album opens up with Dead Batteries. Firmly punching beats set things off, grumbling riffs soon in tow as McGrath shares his vocal prowess in a virulent stroll mixing the punk of The Damned with the dirtier scent of Dinosaur JR and the dark growl of Misfits. It is a rousing and compelling start, a spirit and appetite sparking beginning reinforced by the following stomp of Dirty Boots and A Friend Named Goo. With swinging rhythms and mischievous hooks entangled in another scuzzy antagonistic snarl of a sound, the song brings seventies punk into the visceral infectiousness of modern punk ‘n’ roll, hitting the sweet spot within seconds and only reinforcing its persuasion as distorted guitar enterprise plays.
Drain Brain comes next bringing a monotone nagging of the senses as riffs groan and shimmer while vocals add their singular but magnetic coaxing. Grungy and again old school punk seeded, the song grumbles and transfixes before The Frugal Yankee strides in and inspires that Dickies reference. Previous songs hinted but the fourth track especially recalls a sterner and heavier take on the Leonard Graves Phillips, Stan Lee, and Chuck Wagon led band, whether by coincidence or just in our ears.
A slower prowl comes with Glory Days next, its slow but eager crawl thick with emotive and rhythmic shadows adding another creative shade to the EP and an intriguing proposition for ears and imagination to embrace. Carrying a bit of Fugazi in its character, the excellent encounter steps aside for a rousing version of the Buddy Holly classic, Heartbeat. Just beefing it up gives the track a fresh lure but Nomad Stones also add fiery melodies and even more aggressive nagging to its riffery to leave ears greedy and pleasure rife.
The rowdy air and intent of In Too Deep ensures satisfaction is full next too, the song without the same spark as its predecessors for personal tastes still only leaving a want for more which closing track, The Sandwich Police provides as again, much like the last song, Nomad Stones venture into the epidemic strains of pop punk united with the threat of Black Flag/Converge scented confrontation.
The track is an outstanding end to an excellent introduction to Nomad Stones. There is buzz rising around the band and we can only add to it as raw and punk infused rock ‘n’ roll does not come much more enjoyable than this.
The Nomad Stones EP is out now via Brutal Panda Records @ http://nomadstones.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 02/09/2016
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