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| 19 August 2016 | Reply

Wolverine Records
February 2016
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8 ½ /10

The Hellfreaks - Astoria

OOF!!!! That’s the punch in the guts of the Hellfreaks’ third album, Astoria.

Combining Bánhegyi Tamás’ Dead Kennedys agit-punk buzzsaw guitar and the I’m-Mad-As-Hell-and-I’m-Not-Gonna-Take-It-Any-More vocals of Shakey Sue, opener Burn The Horizon sets the tone for an album that kicks the door down, steals everything in your fridge, and leaves the lights on. Let’s call it polite punk!

Why Do You Talk is a turbo charged snarl of frustration at THOSE people we wish would just shit the hell up, and the Martin Luther King-sampling intro to Rope is a moody, atmospheric and prog-punk change of direction, before the song hits the gas pedal and Sue unleashes herself again.

This willingness to not be caged by any preconceived notion of what punk is or isn’t is the ace in the deck for The Hellfreaks: they fuckin’ rock in every direction like a pack of wildcats covered in sweat and angry.

Sue’s vocals have an element of Shirley Manson [Garbage] about them – but don’t expect the indie electrorock or polish of that band here. As confident and brazen as her focal point vocals are though, the band are watertight and on fire, filling every song with electricity and kick.

Dawn’s catchy chorus “everything looks better when the sun goes down” is so damned catchy and bouncy that it could almost be a PiNK song with a glossy pop makeover – but it sounds far better this way. Come Around is a pogoing, headbanging, circle pit of a song, all bulging eyes and bared teeth and popping veins in the temple; and closer Little Crime is as sharp as razor wire, as punchy as Mike Tyson and as snarling as a rabid dog.

Astoria is a sweaty, punchy 1-2-Fuck You of an album: a hidden gem that marries punk and rock and individuality with the need to say something that matters, and the ability to write great rock n’ roll tunes.

Category: CD Reviews

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