This single is the first release from Canadian punk veterans The Vapids since 2009. It’s a worthy reemergence, employing all of the credentials they’ve amassed over their two decades in the scene. The Vapids have a knack for crafting catchy songs just as adeptly as any of their ‘90s and ‘00s pop and skate punk contemporaries—as well as bands like Ramones, who directly influenced most of that ilk—but their melodies and hooks always rolled through the dirt and gnashed their teeth in a way that set them apart. “Punitive Damage” pulls even further away from the band’s poppier inclinations, boasting a distinctly rock’n’roll swagger and a blazing guitar solo. “Thin Skin” is even more of a ripper, tightly composed yet steeped in the kind of youthful aggression that evades so many veteran bands. The all-analog recording makes the A side’s tracks feel loose and alive, even dangerous—like they are blazing along the edge of a cliff and may plunge into the abyss at any moment. The B side is home to a secret untitled track dedicated to The Vapids’ fallen brother and guitarist Robert “Robo” DeGrunt. The song slows its roll enough to be called an anthem, but swaps one kind of intensity for another, deftly conveying years of hurt in less than four minutes. With album art inspired by The Misfits’ 3 Hits from Hell EP, this single is a whole cornucopia of punk rock pomp fit into a neat, little package.
–Kelley O’Death (Surfin’ Ki, surfinkirecords.bigcartel.com)