God, it’s good to hear that edge. Thanks to technology, it seems like everyone puts out phoned-in, soulless albums that are the product of current radio trends. Rather than sticking to that pristine production everyone is looking for, Squid The Whale ditched clarity for a raw, edgy sound that makes their latest EP new war. a damn good listen.
It’s so intense. So aggressive. When new vocalist Bradley Scott Walden rips through a chorus over top one of guitarist Brandon Kubaic’s bouncy and heavy riffs, I want to bounce like the crowd in 8 Mile. Take opener and single “The Greatest Way” for instance: Good luck not tearing the roof down as Walden sings “So pull your punches baby, let me bleed / I love you fucking people tellin’ me I’m wrong.” The explosive track is easily one of my favorites this year.
The next two tracks are a bit more similar to the band’s debut, A Worrisome Voyage Through Inclement Weather, which is hardly a bad thing. As with that record, the instrumentation across the board is sensational. I can’t give enough praise to Kubaic’s guitar playing, which has evolved to a whole new level; the riffs and leads have much greater variation than on their last record, giving each track its own personality and making giving this four-song EP great depth. As if he wasn’t enough on his own, Daniel Jay’s incredible bass groove and Jonathan Wagoner’s flavorful drumming show that every member here is essential to the sound. Every second of “Gentleman” and “Tennessee” is worth careful consideration, and totally worth of the Gatsby’s American Dream comparisons the band regularly receives.
Perhaps the most impressive song of the bunch is closer “Drown.” Rarely do acoustic cuts make EPs as short as this one, but thank God for it’s inclusion. The gorgeous song lets Walden take the spotlight one last time with his chill-inducing vocal lines.
With only four tracks, New War has completely exhausted my vocabulary of exciting adjectives. As much as I respected these guys before, I’m simply stunned by how excellent this new release is. Good luck finding anything more explosive this year.