I’m writing this while I’m home sick, so it’s going to be a really terrible post. But I really hope you guys know about Wars. I am seriously derelict in writing about them and I can’t wait any longer!
The Vancouver fivesome or something have just put out a couple of new tunes, so what better catalyst for a blog post than that? The image you see to the left is the cover of the new single, which features two songs: “Camo Pants, Why?” and “Blue & Black Sheep.” They may be leftovers from their first “studio” album album, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fantastic!
My first brush with Wars came when they put out the album Pacey From The Mighty Ducks, the recording session from which these songs originate. And yes, I totally downloaded the record just because of the title. From the pummelling opening power chords and the subtle melodic shifts in the vocals of opening track “Statue Isn’t Right” I was transported back in time. I could see this band on a bill with The Smugglers and Chixdiggit and The Pointed Sticks (if those three bands had actually all been active at the same time). Better still, they let themselves wander all over the spectrum, thrashing with reckless abandon on “Trojan Whores” and “Pretty Ape,” slowing things down and cranking the melody on “Single Dad” and “Maiden USA,” unplugging on “Post-Pwn’d,” and covering The Queers and The Germs for good measure.
Fun record! But while I enjoyed it I wasn’t really lit on fire by it, I suppose; if I had been I probably would’ve written about it on here.
What got me a little more rabid about Wars was a single, Wars 1979, that came out very late in 2012. A four song EP that offered a fairly skewed view of what the band is capable of, the most distinguishing part came early: the titular single.
“Wars 1979″ puts the band’s Jawbreaker adoration front and center (as though naming their record label after a song from 24 Hour Revenge Therapy didn’t make it apparent enough). More even-tempered than most of Blake Schwarzenbach’s work, however, this song has a real sense of wistfulness and abandon. Call it a mix of “Jet Black” and Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979,” if you like. Over a cigarette, singer Chris Van Der Laan considers a gulf of separation, impatience, and how to deal with it (or deal with talking about it). The chorus is pure ecstasy, the rhythm slowing to half-time and the bulk of the band ahh-ing along in a gorgeously harmonic vocal interplay that rises above the mid-fi production to trigger all the aural pleasure centres of the brain.
The bridge reaches similar heights, with Van Der Laan’s descending vocal melody cascading over and over before hitting the chorus one more time.
It’s honestly one of the finest rock songs I’ve heard in a long time. So catchy! I should’ve been shouting it from the rooftops all along, and for that I apologize to Wars. I’ve done you wrong, baby; I didn’t even realize that you’d put out a new full-length record since then.
And now the new single! For a couple of outtakes, the new single is absolutely phenomenal. “Camo Pants, Why?” (a sentiment I totally understand) is a fast-paced, fuzz bass-driven number that puts Van Der Laan’s vocals front and center with some more great vocal hooks. “Blue & Black Sheep” opens with a fairly incongruous accordion intro before a tempo-shifting rock anthem of big, hooky proportions kicks in. They’re just a couple of short tunes, but when a band’s throw-away tracks are this catchy there’s no way to resist the ones they actually put on records, right?
So this isn’t the most in-depth and insightful review, but who cares? WARS ARE AWESOME. Simple point, simply made. Check out some rad jams below and go buy their tapes.
You can get Wars’ music from their Bandcamp page, which has an hilarious URL: http://bonerwars.bandcamp.com/music. While you’re there, check out the new album Neville Say Never too!