The Pulse and the late Zeppelin-and-Chili-Peppers-esque rock band The 1-10s go way back. Always a fan of their grizzly rock, we reviewed their EP and fantastic LP Fighting For a Golden Age with admiration and manic glee. When they disbanded this year, it was sad. But then the rhythm section regrouped as Bang OK Bang. With former bass player Ben Lowry now on guitar and vocals and Abby Hairston still hacking away on drums, Bang OK Bang make a wonderful sonic mess, combining a strong sense of melody with an even stronger sense of just being as loud as possible.
What they have here on their debut EP Chemicals, released July 6 with an incredible high-energy set at The 5 Spot in Nashville, are four tracks that meld the metal with the punk and the hardcore with the hard classic rock. Traces of Motorhead, Fugazi, Sabbath and even some rougher Pearl Jam stuff are just a few of the influences swilled into the scummy cup, starting with the opening blast of “Above The Surface,” whose catchy riff has to be my favorite of the whole record. There are plenty of bands out there that are “raw” and whatnot, but the draw to Bang OK Bang, I think, may be how artless they are about it. When you see them live, you can see that their songs aren’t performed with the underlying message “LOOK HOW PUNK WE ARE”—they just like to play the hell out of their instruments.
This is just four tracks, but if we can look forward to more of this down the road, we’re on board.
Bang OK Bang appears at the 5 Spot again on Friday, Aug. 31.