Monday, January 12, 2009

review: The Whore Moans - "Welcome to Radio Wasteland!"

8.2/10

A band name as blatantly punk-rawk as this seems as though it should’ve been captured a decade or two prior, but local favorite The Whore Moans have it, and they’re not letting go.

Though the band even goes so far to bill themselves as “dirty smut-rock” and “aggressive-trashy,” thinking of the Whore Moans as just a punk band would be unfair, as sophomore album Hello from Radio Wasteland! demonstrates. Though they clearly come from a skuzzy foundation, the new record builds on the grit of 2006 debut Watch Out For This Thing and manages to capture most of the band’s copious amounts of energy.

Drawing on old-school punk, 80s metal and 90s post-hardcore, the Whore Moans thrive on stripped-rough vocals and driving bass overlaid with powerfully-picked guitar riffs. Second track “The Holy Fucking Moment” is a prime example, swelling and ebbing with sound waves and lyrics that threaten (literally and figuratively) to tear you apart.

Opening track “Nerve Tonic!” kicks off the LP systematically adding in each element — first Nikki O. and Jonny Henningson’s guitars, then Ryan Devlin’s bass, then Jason Kilgore’s drums — then base-jumping into an ecstasy of punk.

There are other epic moments, like the shrieking verses of “Wall of a Song” and the moving acoustic ballad “Before the Frost” that appear unexpectedly in an exciting way. Pop elements, “oohs and ahhs,” hand claps and harmonies appear intermittently, only adding to the diversity that the band can incorporate under the punk moniker.

“Here Comes America,” like most of the other tracks, opens with a blast of distorted guitar and carries into power chords and lyrics like “Here comes America/boys what do you say/And the old man preaching/on the corner/got a sign that say the end is/coming soon.” It’s old school form punk, modded and prodded into gritty rock ‘n’ roll at it’s finest.

Hello From Radio Wasteland, though not officially released until January 27, is currently available at Capitol Hill’s Sonic Boom Records and Queen Anne/West Seattle’s Easy Street Records. Repeat: you can buy it now. And you should.

And, for the fortunate 21+ crowd, you can catch the album release show on Jan. 22 at Neumos (with Cute Lepers, The Hands and The Ironclads). As Jonny wrote on the band’s MySpace: “This show will go down in Whore Moans history. Someone might die, a baby might be born, a dragon may very well penetrate the fragile membrane separating fantasy from reality [and] lay an egg with a shell made of gold and a beautiful angel burning with lust might just be born from said egg.”

Needless to say, you want to be there.

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