BLAMM-O! – Blamm-O!
If punk rock is defined more by its attitude than its musical form, than Blamm-O! has succeeded in joining SevenOneFive, Things Fall Apart and the erstwhile New Recruits as one of the defining punk bands in the Mad City. This eponymous debut also joins those ranks as one of the best releases in this genre. Of course the musical form follows as well. After all, you won’t be hearing too many punk chamber orchestras. Blamm-O! is seven tracks of kick-ass angst, raging against the machine, and heavy soul-searching that hit you square in the solar plexus. Additionally, there are two radio edits of the EP’s best tunes, “Wake Up America” and “No News,” because, well, this stuff is just too important. People need to hear it.
You’ve just got to love an album that starts off with the words, “Look at how we’ve fucked ourselves.” Though “Wake Up America” goes on a bit too long (4:58 with repeated verses) it really doesn’t matter. It’s a message that you want to be repeated infinitely. “Life Spills (Again)” is a more musically complex piece, a mid-tempo rocker with peaks of intensity in the choruses. The metaphor of the spider, snake and hawk as humans fulfilling God’s will to spill life is clear. “No News” is more of a straight-ahead song until the spoken middle section and when vocalist Joel Hooks, who shines throughout the album, shouts, “Tune out Cheney and Rummy / Fuck ‘em all / ‘Cause they’re lying corporate fascists / They’ll reap what they sow / They’ll reap what they sow / They’ll reap what they sooooow,” it becomes the emotional high point of the album. “Love Songs” and “Winter’s Dormancy” depart from political statements to explore more personal ground. The latter also departs in its angular, less assaultive instrumentation and what appears to be a nine-minute song actually contains two short hidden tracks recorded in 2001, “Indonesia” and “Fading.”
Blamm-O! was recorded as a four-piece but the band has since added bassist Matt Acker to become a five-piece, dual guitar-slingin’ powerhouse. Although the EP loses some of its potency after the political wallop of the first three tracks, it’s still a great collection of rock songs that sure makes you want to experience Blamm-O! live.