Suburban Vermin – Headless Over Heels
Seattle based punk rockers Suburban Vermin unleash their new album Headless Over Heels.
Opening with the album’s title track, Suburban Vermin’s sound is as close to back to basics punk as you could wish for, leaning towards early Blink-182, Green Day, and the Offspring. Keeping close to that classic punk aesthetic, the tracks are short and snappy, matching the sense of urgency that is found in the band’s sound. ‘Burnin’ Love’ screeches and squawks itself along at a real pace as if it’s very life depends on reaching the finish line, while ‘Metal Alice’ works in very much the same way, albeit in a slightly heavier fashion. There are moments on the album where things feel strained, even forced – ‘Od’ing On You’ has a streak of desperation about it, and while that may indeed add to the song’s sentiment, after a while the strained vocals become somewhat wearing. In contrast, the heartwarming and familiar chord sequences on tracks like ‘Oh Gia’ are a joy to listen to, and ‘Lady Holiday’ manages to balance heavy, thundering bass notes with an upbeat sound that harnesses the splintering guitars in a truly anthemic fashion. ‘Last Laugh’ is probably the moment of the album when things get the closest to Green Day that you’re going to get with its rocking chords and pummelling drums. What really stands out when listening to Headless Over Heels is the band’s clear desire to bang out punk tunes in the purest way possible. There really is very little pretension, which is something so sorely needed within the genre. So often we are offered sound-alikes or blatant wannabes, but the sound of Suburban Vermin is eerily close to that which Kurt Cobain was trying to do before he was so totally destroyed by the industry and expectations placed upon him. Tracks like ‘Hollywood’ show this so perfectly, with a low and clanking bass line and cynical lyrics that are spat out with a snarl, while ‘Drunken Amazement’ is closer to power pop punk, lurching towards the Stooges while it scrawls along like a zombie on amphetamines. At times the album hurtles along at such a rate it’s easy to let several tracks go by without even noticing – ‘Emma’ dashes along in less than two minutes, bashing out its honed guitar work. ‘Walk Away’ features perhaps the most intricate work on the album, employing one of the few guitar riffs, which stands out significantly. It makes for an ideal way of drawing things towards the album’s eventual conclusion, adding texture and weight and showing that Suburban Vermin have a lot to offer in terms of writing and song construction. Which brings us to the album’s final track, the cover of 4 Non Blondes’ ‘What’s Up’ – a poppy, sunny, chugging piece of nostaligia, and the perfect conclusion to a relentless, hi octane run of punk.