It might not be for everyone but, for me, some of the coolest things to hear are those which crosswire a few different sounds and styles which feel as though they should stand at odds with one another. A perfect example of such an unusual stylistic counterpoint can be found on Roadside Bombs‘ new single, “War On Love,” pressed on “super” cyan blue vinyl (the color of Superman’s tights). Even before a note is heard listeners will be treated to the potentially provocative image of Batman passionately French kissing which appears on the cover of the single. It might sound silly, but that alone seems destined to get listeners’ curiosity up – but the going gets better when one realizes that’s only the beginning of this two-track treat.
On the single’s A-side, Roadside Bombs set to work straight away attempting to see which buttons might be available for pressing within the minds of those listening by gently tipping a few sacred cows. To that end, over a slippery/swarthy and sneer-inspiring rhythm figure, singer Ben Coleman lifts a vocal delivery from Glenn Danzig pretty plainly and croons out lines like “We all need something to help us feel okay/ Sometimes it’s booze sometimes it’s hate” and “You waged a war on love/ Said the Bible old you to/ Don’t know which Gad you’re thinking of” over a very glossy and slick punk chord progression (which sounds a bit like what one could call “Misfits Lite”) but, somehow, the parts don’t align quite right and feel as the the band is making a farce of what they’re playing on purpose; sure, it’s a little dark and a little harrowing, but it’s also a whole lot of fun too – and the band wisely gets out and lets the side close before anyone’s in danger of taking it too seriously.
Needless to say, the A-side of this 7” features both a few great, razor-keen hooks as well as a few great, razor-keen barbs but, unbelievably, the B-side song (“Looking”) steps up the energy and effortlessly holds listeners hypnotized all over again. On the B-side, Roadside Bombs trades its Misfits/Danzig chops and digs a little deeper into the proverbial tombs to exhume some shaky, Heartbreakers-esque swagger which, while vintage, does not feel stiff in the slightest. In fact, it could easily be argued that “Looking” is the more accessible song of the two on the single; the rolling bass line which pushes the song along and Jeremy Catrambone’s sidewinding, maliciously lascivious guitar line stalk their way into listeners’ hearts and also revive that mock-dangerous vibe that was a Heartbreakers staple. To his credit, Moss plays along beautifully too; he deftly trades the dark air he carried through “War On Love” for the soul of a street-walking cheetah with a heart full of opioids and sells listeners on it easily because (somehow) it feels genuine in addition to sounding as though the song was groomed to be a hidden gem.
Not to sell the A-side short but, really, it’s after they press through “Looking” that listeners will leave, excited. The danger expressed will have them hooked and, happily, the won’t have to wait long for more; after the band’s forthcoming full-length is released, they’ll have every opportunity to get their fix but, until then, listeners will itch as they wait to see what flavor dominates that full-length. After getting a taste from this single. They’ll be definitely be anxious – here’s hoping Roadside Bombs and Pirates Press don’t make them wait too long.
(Chapter 11/Pirates Press)