The Retakes – Trash
The four song EP release Trash from Minneapolis based four piece The Retakes follows up on their 2014 EP release and a 2015 split shared with the band Gramma. The new collection of songs finds the band pushing just a little further past the punk rock workouts heard on their debut and establishes their songwriting a more individual and unique effort than ever before. They play with a tremendous amount of fire and abandon, but it’s easy for discerning listeners to hear how talented they are at building memorable dynamic moments within the arrangement and squeezing out every available ounce of drama without ever getting too pretentious. Such a move is a death kneel for any punk rock band, but from the first song, even a novice listener knows they are far from being in the hands of rank amateurs.
The rock and roll firepower they have at their disposal is quite apparent on the first song. “Trash” is probably the album’s most conventional all out punk assault and there’s more going on than meets the eye. Careful listeners will hear how expertly the band moves into a higher gear from the song’s first moments to the beginning of its first verse. The bloody vocals have a lot of the aforementioned fire and abandon, but there’s an audible level of nuance in the singing that sets it apart from typical efforts in the genre. They indulge in more out and out rock dynamics on the EP’s second song “Monkey (He Speaks His Mind)”. Their debt to The Pixies is much clearer here, but the lyrical content has a personal spin quite unlike anything you’d hear on Surfer Rosa or other Pixies classics. It’s refreshing to hear a band so immediately capable of altering their approach freely within the confines of a single song.
“Junk” has a much more groove-centric approach and the interplay between bassist Donnie Kirksey and drummer Evan Floyd is essential for making this effort work. Simplicity is key, but chemistry more so. Kirksey and Floyd play as one unit and with tremendous facility allowing the guitars and vocal alike to make even more of an impact than they might otherwise. The album’s final song, “Ginsberg”, continues with what started on “Junk”. There is dramatic spoken word inserted near the end of “Junk”, but “Ginsberg” begins that way with over a minute of iconic American writer Allen Ginsberg reading his seminal poetic work “America”. The reading isn’t particularly connected to the largely indecipherable lyrical content, but the numerous exhortations of other Ginsberg works certainly leads on to believe that their purpose is tribute, not mockery.
The Retakes have built well on what they begin with 21014’s debut Girl. These four songs aren’t content with following the path of least resistance and, instead, touch on reliable musical moments while challenging the listener to hear the genre in new and unexpected ways. Trash is a confirmation of their growing talents and an excellent introduction for any new fan.
9 out of 10 stars.