The cover image on Warish‘s latest record Next to Pay – streaming at Bandcamp – is priceless, a guy decked out in a hazmat suit with see-thru plastic helmet and breathing tube for maximum paranoid effect. Their most recent album sounded a lot like Queens of the Stone Age. On this one, they’ve switched out the stomping punkmetal for a much more straight-up punk sound which at times is a dead ringer for the UK Subs.
This band doesn’t mess around. Short, fast songs, raspy vocals and some evil chromatics in places. That’s pretty much the title track, which opens the record. Bassist Alex Bassaj rises out of the murk like a sea monster on the second one. Frontman/guitarist Riley Hawk turns up the fuzz and swoops around Thurston Moore style in places on the third.
Lyrics factor into this music about half the time: otherwise it’s all about volume, speed and bludgeoning hooks. Occasionally, Hawk will zing you, i.e. “Burn your bridges to stay warm,” on the album’s fourth number. Say to Please, which seems to be a lockdown-era broadside, has Hawk hitting his chorus pedal for icy 80s sonics and his first tantalizingly messy guitar solo.
Seeing Red draws on a well known Sabbath hit, right down to the bassline. Hawk brings in both the fuzz and the chorus for Destroyer, which comes across as a more menacing take on late 80s Agent Orange ATV rock.
The rest of the record veers from skittish garage-psych, to more hints of Sabbath and vintage Sonic Youth, and a bit of the Stooges. The album’s most adventurous song, Make the Escape, is an unlikely successful mashup of the Dead Boys and Daydream Nation-era SY.
The band switched drummers midway through making the record, Nick (Broose) McDonnell departing and Justin de la Vega joining the fray. Both play strongly on the album: if fast, catchy, menacing rock is your thing, this is for you.