East Bay-based pop punk group The Hammerbombs’ debut record practically never takes a break to catch its breath. Released on record label Paper Street Cuts, Goodbye, Dreamboat is thrilling, full of brisk riffs and brash vocals. Many things about this project will keep listeners on their toes. Among them are the band’s variance in vocalists. Two of them are guttural and booming – which is heaps of fun – but the third helps the group sound more polished. Jen Louie has a voice sturdy enough to withstand this record’s sonic heaviness that is still sweet and anchored.
Amidst the chaos is catharsis. The record seems to be serving as a coping mechanism, as if the vocalists hope yelling about whatever they’re grappling with will help them. “Cars” is, unsurprisingly, about cars, but in a more abstract, metaphorical sense. It’s about loathing the vehicle – not because there’s anything wrong with them, but because they’re used to transport people to other places and thus, enable separation anxiety (“Sometimes I hate my car because it takes me away from you”). “Tiny” centers on being disappointed in yourself for not making wise decisions (“I want to fix myself but I keep on trusting you”).
Standout track “Vices” represents opting to give up on self betterment because it seems like the easiest option (“It’s too late – way too late – to change anything”). Instrumentally, too, the track is well constructed. It begins with a steady, climbing drum line, but the culminating 45 seconds give listeners a simmered break down.
All in all, Goodbye, Dreamboat is a record suited for anyone seeking high energy music as a form of relief. Life is challenging – but you’re not the only one frustrated by it.