For years now we’ve been dealing with this garage rock revival. It’s our little subculture’s Permanent Revolution, a fully entrenched rebellion of professional guerrillas, but instead of beards and bandoliers, its long locks and coke-noses. Almost everyone expected it to fade away, but instead, more and more bands keep popping out records. It’s catchy, it’s fast, and it’s fun.
And it’s bubblegum. You chew it up, spit it out, and are left with little but a hopefully-minty taste in your mouth. There’s flavor, but usually not too much in terms of substance. Some of these bands find a meaty hook, maybe a digestible verse or two, but generally they’re more of the same. More bubblegum.
Sure, Chattanooga’s Future Virgins might be tracking some gum around the old garage with one foot, but their other is standing in a puddle of beer somewhere, planted firmly in the DIY punk basement. Those sugary melodies taste just as good but are fortified with a solid punk rock sense of attitude and aggression. It’s gritty without being abrasive, and its catchy without being polished.
And it’s damn good. 2011’s Western Problems may be their first full-length, but these guys have been playing for years now, and their time together has done them well. Rarely does a debut carry such distinct feeling of direction. They’re comfortable enough together to know where they want to go with their sound. The thirteen songs feel direct and well constructed, moving along at a pace quick enough as to never wear out their welcome. They get in, give you the good stuff, then get out. It’s like tapas.
….I promise I’m done with this food metaphor.
It was only half-baked anyway.
I’m done for real now.
You can catch Future Virgins on Sunday August 31 at Bottletree, opening for Birmingham native Dan Sartain. Dan plays garage rock. Maybe it’s bubblegum, but it’s bubblegum filled with broken glass and nicotine. In a good way, I promise.