Red, Green, or Inbetween
(No Sleep Records)
Last year’s EP debut, SKRWD, created a lot of anticipation for the then-untitled Red, Green, or Inbetween LP from UK newcomers, WSTR. Like a cross between Neck Deep and Fireworks, the band has an aggressive, unpolished approach to their punk rock, emphasizing the “fuck you” attitude over the pop influence drenching the scene currently, making their music all the more attractive for those of us becoming sick of all the sugar.
Opening with “Featherweight”, the record wastes no time in painting a picture of what you’ll be in for; upbeat, but aggressive, the song is catchy and energetically driven to the throwing of fists. Much of the album plays out this way, and it’s in that unrelenting vitality that Red, Green, or Inbetween proves WSTR’s worthiness in your collection. It’s tempting to lead a review by highlighting specific tracks for their greatness, but in trying to do so here, you pretty much end up saying a bit of something for every single one that exists on the playlist. As such, I will just pull one that is especially appealing; “Eastbound & Down” is a blend of everything that makes punk rock such a versatile, warm genre that can bring in just about anyone from whatever walk of life. It’s got a lighthearted structure, boosted by an upbeat chorus, sing-along vocals, and genuine you-can-relate-to lyrics.
As hinted to us by SKRWD less than a year ago, WSTR have recorded an excellently memorable punk rock collection that will easily make 2017 Top Ten Lists before all is said and done. Talk about a great way to start off the new music year.