The Retakes – Trash

The second EP from Minneapolis four piece punk rockers The Retakes pays due deference to self-proclaimed influences like The Pixies, but they cast their musical net much wider than that. The four songs on Trash range from dynamic, moody rockers to aggressive punk smashes that put themselves in the listener’s face from note one and never back down.

Vocalist Miles Halverson has an impressively elastic voice – he can move from outright screaming to stylish singing within an eye blink and the more nuanced vocal passages are replete with emotiveness and biting phrasing. There’s lots of attitude pumping through the EP’s four songs, but never mistake their energy for betraying a lack of technique. The Retakes are versatile and maintain absolute fidelity to their chosen musical tradition.

One crucial difference between this and the debut’s release is the presence of a second guitarist. The presence of Casey Norman on second guitar thickens the band’s sound far beyond the relatively unadorned six string thrust defining 2014’s EP release Girl.

The addition of the second guitar player makes a difference even on screamers like Trash. It has a super hard-boiled streak coupled with a lightning quick flash of energy that throws off sparks from beginning to end.

The EP’s second track, Monkey (He Speaks His Mind) has a much more groove oriented approach than the earlier song, but The Retakes continue pursuing their punk rock sound on varying passages that are comparatively short in duration. The guitar sound has a ramshackle warmth and sounds like its playing only inches from your ear with discontent, yet melodic, phrasing that helps the song further stand out.

Junk is closer in spirit to the first song, but pushes the envelope harder than ever before. The imposing instrumental force they conjure isn’t undercut at all by the unexpected inclusion of spoken word bits near the end. Bassist Donnie Kirksey anchors the song with a stripped down, swinging groove that Halverson’s voice juxtaposes well against.

The concluding track Ginsberg make a sharp, unexpected stylistic turn with its use of an old recording opening the first sixty seconds of the song. The cut kicks off with famous American poet Allen Ginsberg reading the beginning of his acclaimed poem America before the band wrests control and comes blasting out of the speakers. They hold nothing back here. They reference other works in Ginsberg’s career and maintain a fever pitch of emotion from the start.

This represents the next cutting edge in The Retakes’ pursuit of an individual sound honoring the past while grabbing the present and future by the throat. Trash’s four songs don’t adopt a single point of attack but, instead, bob and weave in the listener’s consciousness like a particularly artful boxer. They will impress with the sheer unstoppable drive, but their skills will earn your respect as well. The Retakes are far from your average punk band, but they clearly show the talent for becoming much, much more.

9 out of 10 stars

If you liked the preview from The Retakes’ EP Trash, give them a like on Facebook by clicking here & a follow on Twitter by clicking here.

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