Naked Raygun

Over The Overlords

Written by: PP on 25/12/2021 14:39:48

Seminal Chicago punk band Naked Raygun was first active between 1985-1990, releasing five influential albums during that span before guitarist John Haggerty left to form another influential 90s band Pegboy (cited as an inspiration by Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, Shai Hulud, Chuck Ragan, etc). Since then, they've been largely quiet, having reunited for a single show back in 1997 that coincided with a release of a demos and b-sides album, and sporadic shows and singles since their official reunion in 2006. Now without Haggerty, long-standing members Jeff Pezzati (vocals), Bill Stephens (guitar), and Eric Spicer (drums) have finally recorded a comeback album called "Over The Overlords", their first studio album in thirty-one years (!). And despite three decades of absence, Naked Raygun surprisingly avoids sounding dated in the process.

If you listened to the original Naked Raygun records from the 80s, they were among the pioneers of the no-bullshit, no-frills punk rock championed by bands like Off With Their Heads today. Coming from the same scene as Screeching Weasel, their skate punk-friendly guitars will resonate nicely with that fanbase, where songs like "Ode To Sean McKeough" and "Living In The Good Times" in particular will stand out. Elsewhere, the band's stylistic take sounds almost identical to Off With Their Heads. Listen to "Broken Things", for instance, and tell me it doesn't sound exactly like an older song by the latter. It features exactly the same kind of driving, rowdy no-frills punk where rough, charismatic vocals carry the song forward to a catchy finish. The same goes with the infectiously catchy "Amishes" that should have you singing along on the first listen.

But there's more. Weirdo tracks like "Suicide Bomb" play around with elements of goth rock and darkwave in the context of punk rock, whereas "Soul Hole Boy" experiments with odd vocals and a metallic ambiance. To be honest, both should've been cut from the record because they don't fit the overall stylistic theme of the album, at all.

Save for the few oddities scattered amongst the 15 tracks on the record, there are plenty of lighthearted tracks designed for rollickin' fun like "Superheroes", for instance. You can tell the origins of many riffs are sourced from the 80s and beyond, however, "Over The Overlords" keeps up enough with the times to sound relatively fresh and like a relevant addition to this year's punk collection. A solid comeback from the genre legends.

Download: Broken Things, Amishes, Superheroes, Ode To Sean McKeough, Living In The Good Times
For the fans of: Off With Their Heads, The Slow Death, Pegboy, Screeching Weasel
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.08.2021
Wax Trax! Records

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