(Old Rose Records)
East Los Angeles' Walker Brigade have released their first album, 'Therapy Animal', on Old Rose and it's a restless, relentless, rockin' storm, people. Here's what it sounds and feels like from the get go: from the opening track Choker. It's like driving not even too fast at night on a road in the hills you know well, looking to change channel on the eight-track but the back lit's gone, so you're feeling for it, feeling something familiar straightaways, but you look down and check anyway, right then you stray off the road and go off a cliff, immersed and falling, through ecstasy and terror for roughly thirty minutes, tumbling through space and time. And you're hearing all of Roy Wood's '60s melodies played at once through a storied distorted Watkins Dominator.
Nothin'? You got nothin' from that I guess. Look, when Walker Brigade draw on rock's rich heritage, it's from the environs less well-regarded by protean punk rockers, but it's in their neighbourhood. Take the Walker's version of I Wanna Destroy, they drag it spitting and screaming down NY Dolls Way. Way down that way. It's as epic as the original, with singer Tracy's semi-buried vocals just doing enough to make you take the hook personally.
Walker Brigade have been compared to the Ramones and Creedence and many others and of course I can’t hear any of that. To these ears, the Walkers are testier, more complexier. More like Wire or the arc of the Psychedelic Furs career: in spite of pushy-guitar, pure pop hooks and choruses and melodies, the not embarrassing (here at least) art-rock foundations means what the Walkers are building will never be just another banal, two up two down, RIBA recommended sized single family home. It’s way more expansive than that.
I couldn't have switched off if I tried.