A punk outfit with roots spread far and wide, Waco’s members came together from North Yorkshire, Coventry and Jersey to create a similarly eclectic racket. Having even been described as prog-punk, the four-piece now produce their third EP in as many years with ‘Deathless’.
That dubious tag may be misleading in terms of Waco’s story thus far however, with 2015 single ‘Wrangler’ a simple riot of ragged good-time punk. Others may know of the band from ‘Agitation’, which also appeared on debut release ‘Sundown’ and introduced a group of lads with a penchant for chaotically optimistic songwriting.
Any account of ‘Deathless’ must place great emphasis on its frankly bonkers lead single ‘Mother Mercy’. A choppy mess of a track, it possesses a lead riff that is closer to a solo, nauseating changes in pace and a chorus bewilderingly introduced in a capella – all before the incomprehensible line ‘mother mercy drives a hearse’ is delivered by the band’s best impersonation of a gospel choir.
After such an exhausting opening, the EP’s remaining four tracks feel comparatively tame, but that comes as something of a relief. ‘Coolangatta’ is punctuated by tasteful brass that finds Waco to be more than capable experimenters, while ‘Feed Your Head’ careers along with more conventional zip.
Whether a conscious reference or not, ‘Best Friend’’s account of a friendship formed with a social worker may be more than a little familiar to those who remember Glasvegas. Jak Hutchcraft’s vocal is most prominent here, and treads a fine line between being suitably raw and slightly irritating on account of overly-exaggerated vowels.
Those introduced to Waco through ‘Deathless’ may be a little taken aback at their tendency to lose direction – mainly on account of ‘Mother Mercy’. The prospect of more tracks like it is slightly unsettling, yet that sort of ambition may just pave the way for the career of an exciting punk band. This is an odd combination of madness and mediocrity.
‘Deathless’ by Waco is out now on Venn Records.