Moxie and ambition is the way of the walk on the debut album from Wiseguys N Scallywags. Let’s start with the fact that the album is a 13-track LP… I’m always immediately impressed with that. I’ll take a 13-track complete catalog over a four-track sampling any day. The debut is also self-titled. And while this isn’t unheard of, I do feel it makes a statement that the artists haven’t only created a list of songs; they “claim” them as well. That takes moxie. That same swagger shines through on the debut through a myriad of styles and facets.
Immediately you are hit with a raucous guitarfest on “Abomination.” Tandem power chord/ intricate neck work usher in this boiler keg of a track with bouncing bass line and agro percussion work. The musicality hits hard but the track is laced with just enough Punk sentiment to make this a pure rawker. The outro guitar tandem work is ridiculously pristine. WNS continue to drop bombs on “How I Roll.” This one is a little darker and dour in both the lyrical matter and the musicality, only to take on a Pop Punk feel in the chorus with harmonized vocals and soaring electric work. “Bubblegum Jazz” lends a Big Band era electric/Brian Setzer/Upright Bass swing to the already rhythmic rock-out vibe. The interplay between musicality and vocal delivery is the X-factor that takes the song over the top. “Better Off Undead” is another building rocker at the intro with effects-laden electric that you can feel is just ready to go off like a rocket. It does so at the :55 point mark with heavy chug guitar to match the screamed vocals. “Zach is New Metal” has a Jimmy Eat World feel about it with more of the Pop Punk swagger about it. This is perhaps the most mainstream radio-friendly song on the album. “What it’s like to Die” features more guitar tandem with soaring solo picking versus Rockabilly/Ska strum feel.
This is a monster of an album both in terms of tracks and musicality. There are myriad styles that not only show versatility within one’s own sound; but those styles build these tracks into complete songs with various lush soundscapes. Another point that I like is that clearly these guys create a lot of music, much of it distorted and fuzzy. But, production created a “clean” album while maintaining the raw organic sound of the band. What else really needs to be said? It’s an ambitious first project that hits on all cylinders and delivers.
by Christopher West – firstname.lastname@example.org
I give this 4/5 Skopes