It might sound weird to say, but it’s about time Suede Razors got around to releasing more than just two songs at a time. To date, Bay area bovver band Suede Razors have managed to build a shockingly devoted following on the strength of a succession of seven-inch singles (see “Boys Night Out” and “Here She Comes” – both of which are backed by strong B-sides too) and nothing more. Perhaps because of time constraints or maybe because of money, releases have always remained (shall we say) “abbreviated” and tailored for maximum impact presented in a minimum amount of time.
This time though, the Razors come to play with five brand new tracks pressed into twelve inches of wax as well as a new studio version of the song “Berlin Or Bust” which came out last year. Even on their first time through, listeners will find themselves utterly entranced by the brutal, street-y punk that the band blasts out, and they’ll be completely hooked by the combination of gang vocals, all-together-now spirit and pub-punk composition.
“Ready To Rock” opens the A-side of Razor Stomp and really lives up to its name as guitarist Bryan Zimmerman and bassist Mike Josephson lay down some beautiful AC/DC-by-way-of-Cock-Sparrer rhythms and vocalist Darrel Wojick steps up to call all fans to attention with nothing more than the phrase “Razors! Ready to rock – let’s go!” It sounds simplistic because it is but, when you’ve been waiting for a slab of street-punk goodness like this for so long, it feels like just what the doctor ordered.
After that stage is set, “TV175” steps in quickly to make sure that no listener gets distracted or goes anywhere. The funny thing about “TV175” is that, while it obviously has a little more going on lyrically than its predecessor, the song does not deviate from the pattern previously set and also features more than enough to keep listeners engaged. Simply said, the first two tracks are very, very similar in many ways other than the fact that one has a larger lyric sheet than the other.
It’s after “TC175” – when “Bovver Girl” hits listeners as this EP’s side-closer – that the mould for this release gets broken and really has a chance of hooking uninitiated listeners on the the band. There, listeners won’t be able to miss singer Darrel Wojick’s attraction to the girl in the boots and the perfect tone in the melody is the sort which makes a punk rock superstar – but it’s the combination of punk guitars and piano which came right out of a Little Richard hit which is the beautiful and beautifully unique thing to really love.
That aspect of the song is also the thing which makes the EP most accessible and threatens to pull listeners along for miles before it ends, and will have those who come upon it scrambling to flip the record in hopes of keeping that energy going after the song ends.
While the B-side doesn’t quite attain the same roadside punk amalgam hinted at by “Bovver Girl” again, all three tracks combined function as solid backup for that beginning. “Berlin Or Bust” is capable of making it past the cringes inspired by the recent political climate in the U.S. Because the rhythm and rock-punk guitars which drive the song are just impossible to deny.
After that, the brick-thick sound of “All-Nighter” as well as the “We’re An American Band” sentiments of the play about as classically as any punk band ever allows itself to get before “Keep On Rockin’” does exactly that in no uncertain terms to close the side.
Some critics will say there’s nothing special about how the B-side of Razor Stomp plays but, as any Dropkick Murphys fan or lover of early Agnostic Front can tell you, the appeal is in the indefatigable heart and soul of the band and its determined refusal to back down which is what gets the band and these songs over. There are no pulled punches and no holding or going back – and after just the six songs which appear on the Razor Stomp EP, listeners will find themselves sold and disinterested in going back too.
So, after having experienced Razor Stomp and having had the six songs which populate it trample all over them, what’s left to say about this EP? How about this: “Go buy it, reader.” The only way to say it to those who still haven’t been sold outright is to say that this EP is the sort which is capable of winning fans on first listen and, after that, the only decision they’ll be left with is whether they have the discipline to wait for a new full length or if they’re going to fervently go out and but every single that the band has already released and chase the figurative dragon that way. Either way, listeners will be won; there’s no question of that – the only question will be what happens next.
(Pirates Press Records)