Bangs – Call and Response (Kill Rock Stars)

bangs-call-responseBangs latest release for KRS is a short head-spinning ride through six songs. The songs break up nicely into pairs. “Call and Response” and “New Scars” open the record with pretty hard-charging riffs. “New Scars”‘s hooky refrain of “Fuck it up! Fuck it up!” gets the listener primed for the catchier material to follow.

Tracks three and four, “Kinda Good” and “I Want More” veer immediately into catchier territory. A Rhodes piano joins the guitar and bass in “Kinda Good” for a song that teeters between melancholic power balladry and euphoric pop. Like the honest-to-goodness power ballad on their last record, “Undo Everything,” “Kinda Good” proves that when Bangs stretch their wings a bit from one-minute-long grrrl punk, they are able to knock out some great pop tunes.

That said, it’s the jittery punk of “I Want More” that demands attention. After the mid-tempo pop of its predecessor, “I Want More” wastes no time in kicking out the jams. The shout-along chorus — “Do you need it? / We don’t know! / Just force feed it and watch it grow!” — is the sort of sonic liberation that punk is all about. Once the song revs up, it doesn’t slow down.

The last two songs on this EP, “Leave it Behind” and “Dirty Knives” are not bad but offer a sort of come-down from the catchy euphoria of the previous two songs. The closer, “Dirty Knives,” starts with a nod to Sabbath’s “Iron Man” and confirms that, though Bangs embody the best of the DIY spirit, they aren’t averse to rocking out with the big boys and girls.