ADVLTS: Self-titled: EP

It’s the cover art that drew me to this. It’s their logo that looks to be made up of torn bits of paper shaping the letters, running diagonally from the bottom left corner to the upper right. When you’re sifting through the review boxes here at the Razorcake bunker, you have to rely on the old ways of choosing records, which is artwork, song titles, record label, ex-band members, and gut instinct. Those modes are not failsafe, especially these days (we all know anything after 1985 is highly suspect). But one of those applied methods is at least guaranteed to work ninety-five percent of the time. I applied cover art, as described above, and song titles: “Bag for My Head,” “It Hurts,” and “Chopped in Half.” With that combo, I should be at least have some sort of expectation met. Though not snotty and slobbering, like I was expecting, Advlts kick out some catchy as hell punk rock that is pretty dern good, and has more going on, as revealed in subsequent listens. The songs are wound tight, with the bass bouncing off the drums, and the guitar jangling and scratching up next to them. The vocalist has a sort of dry sound, and you can hear the words come through nice and sort of clear. “It Hurts” brings to mind early Wire, with the bass nice and strong in the mix, while the guitar skranks rickety notes, and there’s a dual vocal interplay. “Bag for My Head” is the standout due to its strong opening, somewhat sassy vocal delivery, and the lines, “I hate your face! I need a bag for my head!” sandwiched between a driving and super catchy riff. If I was to keep some sort of “best of…” list, then this one would be in it for sure.

 –M.Avrg (Southpaw, [email protected], southpaw-records.com)