The Last Gang

Keep Them Counting

Written by: MAK on 29/03/2018 18:50:32

Certain labels just have a distinct sound to them, Roadrunner and Nuclear blast for being dominantly metal, Victory for being key in the post-hardcore movement and Fat Wreck Chords is a prime label that flaunts melodic skate punk. You can listen to bands and think they would be suited to a certain label, and before even realising they were on it, my thoughts on checking out “Keep Them Counting” by Orange Country trio, The Last Gang is that they are the right kind of band for Fat Wreck Chords.

What we have is an album that encapsulates everything you expect from the melodic punk scene; catchy vocal melodies on top of hooking riffs, punk rock anthems with just enough grit that it’s considered more skate punk than pop-punk. “Keep Them Counting” is full of these anthems, primed for live crowds to sing along to Brenna Red’s vocals that channel that soothing yet gritty sound made famous by the likes of Brody Dalle (The Distillers) and Aimee Allen (The Interrupters).

Opener track “Sing For Your Supper” is as 90s influenced as expected from an album on this label, it feels like Pennywise cover based on the guitar tone and vocal melodies, topped off by the “whoa” chants. “Blood Drunk” follows up with a The Distillers style punch to it, catchy vibes with an aggressive style tone as Brenna stretches her powerful vocal capacity to wail at the top of her voice. “Salvation For Wolves”, then chimes in as a poppy punk-rock number designed to have us singing along, topped off with a nice whiney rock n roll style guitar solo. ‘Strange Fruit’ keeps the sing-along vibes going, but in a more epic manner, a big chorus for Brenna to show us how impactful her cleans can get.

Four songs in and we have four different styles that showcase the varying abilities of the singing and the band’s songwriting, all within a certain realm without alienating each other. Variety flows continuously as the album progresses, with “Nobody’s Prostitute” unleashes the harder hitting nature with up-tempo beats that The Distillers are known for without losing the catchy nature; it’s got a very ‘I Am Revenant’ tone to it. “Believe In The Poet” is a typical hooking skate punk anthem, while “Secret Sounds” is stripped back to an acoustic country style singalong. “Turn The Record Over” ends the album with a bang though, plucky basslines open the track for a chirpy, fast punk anthem that will have a crowd rocking out and chanting at any given moment to the layered voices. It’s a proper party track to end the release in style.

“Keep Them Counting” is a nice surprise and should be an instant hit for skate punk fans, following the formula of the EPI-FAT dynamic that fits in at home with festivals such as Groezrock and FEST. It’s clear where the influences come from and this trio comes in like a fresh blast, combining nostalgia with hope for the future. Brenna Red isn’t just another Brody Dalle or Aimee Allen that flaunts the gritty clean style, she makes these songs her own and is the outright most captivating piece of the puzzle on this album.


Download: Blood Drunk, Sing For Your Supper, Turn The Record Over
For The Fans Of: The Distillers, The Interrupters

Release date 02.03.2018
Fat Wreck Chords

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