Friday, August 3, 2012

Audacity's "Mellow Cruisers" - Pure Punk/Pop Alchemy

Audacity's second full length album "Mellow Cruisers" is brimming with the youthful exuberance of 10,000 house parties, truckloads of beer, a million skittles and any other intoxicants of your choice. When you hear Audacity, bands like Means Jeans, Ty Segall and Bad Sports come to mind although Audacity's approach seems less straight forward than a lot of bands that bask in the lo-fi garage sound. The So Cal (OC) boys blend so many styles that they have come up with something uniquely their own. The songs are pure punk/pop alchemy with tiny bursts of prog rock sneaking in from time to time. Maybe it is because their musical teeth were cut in grade school, formed in middle school, and forged through too many gigs to count that it is difficult (at this point) to put "punk" and Audacity in the same sentence. I mean, these guys are play too incredibly tight to be remotely punk anymore, at least in the true sense of the word (genre). In the end, it doesn't matter how you define their sound - just realize that Audacity has crafted a damn delicious record.

One thing that Audacity does so well is write songs that have many musical shifts throughout. They are not content to lay down a single groove and build around it. Take "Garza Girls"- which starts off with a mellow guitar intro only to explode into the verse that has such a sense of urgency that it feels like the song is trying to catch up with itself- which in turn gives way to a pretty dreamy pre-chorus, "I don't mind if the sun don't shine... I just want to see yours become mine"-  which then gives way to the chorus that absolutely jams. All these flavors, tones, musical arcs exist in one song and it all works building to a nice conclusion. This writing style is evident in a lot of the songs on Mellow Cruisers making it a really fun and musically interesting. The songs are dramatic when they need to be. They have ebbs and flows and can burst into awesome jams. The songs also are melodically dense and Matt Schmalfeld's gritty vocals has that "defiant teen" feel as a natural matter of course.

"Indian Chief" pumps out mosh worthy driving rock and veers into dirty psychedelia. "Punk Confusion" dominated with a snarky guitar hook pounds you into submission. This song is bad ass and I love the guitar lead work. "Subway Girl" manages to feel retro in both a late 60's Brit Rock and mid 80's new wave kind of way, "I met you at the bus stop running... you were in a uniform." Track 5 -"Dhaga" is subtle and sweet with an almost trancy George Harrison feel but it doesn't stay there long moving into a surprising bridge and other changes before coming back home.  "Persecuted" with it's bright guitar and strong downbeat feels like a haze of psychedelic pop. "Funspot" feels like your girl and best buddies wreaking havoc on a Saturday night and has this purely fun guitar jam near the end. "Ears and Eyes" and "Chili" are songs I have enjoyed live sound incredibly thick and potent on this record. The bonus track, "Extensions" (probably the most mainstream sounding track on the album) is a straight forward rocker about the in's and out's of the judicial system (or not) "did you catch the bad guys... working with the police... are you working with the police?"

Through the countless shows Audacity has played they have undoubtedly learned who they are as a band. This self awareness is evident on Mellow Crusiers. It is stuffed full of well produced songs that unabashedly, honestly wrap all that post punk fuzzy goodness around well written melodies. This is an album that I doubt you will get tired of, in fact, it is one that you will listen to for years to come.
Adler Bloom

The Audacity is Cameron, Kyle, Matt, Thomas

You can stream Mellow Cruisers (Burger/ Recess Records) at Noisey. Check it out, then BUY the album.

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