Wounds’ latest offering is really rather good. Having gone through hell and back to put this album together – the front cover features the massive scarring suffered by guitarist James Coogan from a fall that almost cost him his life – the band have finally made it to release.
‘Die Young’ opens with ‘Killing Spree’, a balls to the wall slice of dirty punk rock reminiscent of He Is Legend circa ‘I Am Hollywood’. It’s a beast and once the backing vocals hit the boards it’s one of the strongest songs on the album. Fan favourite ‘Dead Dead Fucking Dead’ reappears on this album, a whopping slice of dirty rock and roll that whilst occasionally having a little bit of a tacky edge is so rollocking that it gets away with it. Whilst this semi-cheesy element does affect some songs – ‘No Future’ feels just a tad too theatrical for example – as a whole ‘Die Young’ has more than enough of a punk rock rattle running through it to shrug off any doubts you might have.
Fifth track, ‘Choke’ is pure sleaze, but it’s a potentially brilliant song let down by disappointing rhythm. The heavier chunks soar but it’s ever held back by what I can only describe as something of a techno vibe. ‘Die Young’ on the whole begs for fists held high in sweaty back rooms, raw voices and bruises in abundance. ‘Choke’, however, seems to beg more for a spandex clad Robot flashmob. I may be hyperbolizing, if only a little. It’s an odd song for this album.
Fortunately, next track ‘Bombs’ saves the day. Hitting the nail so hard on the head it splinters into a thousand dirty punk rock splinters. The vocal performance on this track is absolutely storming, the guitars – beautifully produced throughout the whole album – keep the energy at critical mass and the awkward 80s party of ‘Choke’ is well and truly slaughtered. Thankfully, no one told ‘Desperate Times’ that the party was over and resultantly we get the best song on the album. Three and a half minutes of utterly blinding rock and roll, a breakdown capable not only of curing Wounds’ own techno lapse but also causing me to forget the whole sordid genre for a time. Singer Aidan wrote this track at his brother James’ side as the latter recovered from his near death fall and the demons that come with such life altering events should be sent running by this exorcism.
From here ‘Die Young’ holds true to the end. Intense enough to harbor a passable ‘Woo!’ on ‘The Pile’ and always feeling honest and organic, Wounds can hold their heads high in the face of any who thought their moment had been missed. This album is certainly rough around the edges, sometimes it doesn’t quite go how you might want it to – ‘Choke’ haunts me – but for the most part that plays to the band’s advantage. This is an album by a band that will proudly go wherever they want musically and leave the haters in their furious wake. It’s certainly not a perfect album in any kind of technical sense. Hell, sometimes it’s downright tacky. But damn, it’s pretty great all the same.
‘Die Young’ by Wounds is available now on In At The Deep End Records.
Words by Tom Knott