The Wrecks - Panic Vertigo
Release Date: February 16, 2018
Review by: Kevin Jewkes
California DIY 5 Piece 'The Wrecks' EP Panic Vertigo Fulfills Hopes
From a fans standpoint, Los Angeles DIY band The Wrecks new EP Panic Vertigo (released February 16th) had high hopes to live up to. Industry experts, however, may have had lower expectations; following up a brilliant 3-song debut EP is no easy task. After “sneaking in” to a recording studio to record their debut EP, “We Are The Wrecks”, they found success with surprise hit “Favorite Liar”, which spent 12 weeks on the SiriusXM Alt-Nation countdown – peaking at #5 – and landed spots opening for “All Time Low” and “Nothing But Thieves” before embarking on their own nationwide headlining tour in the fall of 2017.
This latest offering, written while driving across the country, is driven by powerful drums, honest – if not bitter – lyrics, and hooks that
immediately draw you in. This latest offering, written while driving across the country, is driven by powerful drums, honest – if not bitter – lyrics, and hooks that immediately draw you in. Defining a bands “genre” in today’s music scene can be pretty difficult. For me, it’s as if the first decade of Weezer had a baby with Count The Stars, while listening to a lot of classic rock and early 2000’s pop-punk. Is it alternative? Indie? Pop punk? I don’t know… but it’s a recipe that works.
The first track opens with singer Nick Anderson unabashedly identifying a situation that song-writers know all too well. Anderson’s confident, if not aggressive, delivery is a stark contrast to the plea, “Someone’s gotta tell me how to figure this out”. The track addresses the quick success the band found in their first year touring, with Anderson choosing not to shy away from the fact that he doesn’t have all the answers. The lyrics can be a bit repetitive, but the brilliant drumming from Billy Nally and catchy guitar hooks keep the song driving.
The second track, James Dean, opens powerfully, and with a riff reminiscent of Weezers’ Beverly Hills, and I can’t help but see lyrical simliarity to iconic the track Buddy Holly. Seeing The Wrecks live, I noticed various similarities to early Weezer, and I’m now seeing that come through on this EP. Yes, The Wrecks are more aggressive than Weezer, but they use some of the same techniques: big drums, driving bass, solid lead guitar, all paired with honest lyrics that reference pop-culture.
Way With Words, the most “pop-radio” friendly track on the EP, sticks to the lyrical honesty expected from Anderson with lines like: “You think I waited up all night, you're out of your damn mind.” and, “Nothing you can say can change the way I hate your guts right now.” Spite has never sounded so “adult contemporary”. The track is definitely well placed in the lineup, carrying the listener from the aggressive James Dean to the title track Panic Vertigo.
Starting with an acoustic guitar, – something we haven’t heard much of from the band – and a catchy bass line, the fourth track takes an honest look at anxiety. We get a great vocal performance out of Anderson, who mixes in some excellent falsettos before proclaiming “Enough is enough”. The outro gets a little redundant with the lyrics again, but I think this is just a side-effect of the song being performed live prior to recording; it’s a bouncing song that doesn’t want to end. Once you’ve seen the band live, you will appreciate how these tracks – this one being a prime example – take on a bit of a different life. Personally, I’m not sure if Anderson is suggesting he’s had enough of anxiety, or the bullshit that’s giving him anxiety. I’m going to go with the latter, because I think most of us are, as well…
The EP wraps ups with “Revolution”, where I think a tiny bit of pitch correction might be the only flag on Anderson’s vocal performance (though it might just be a hiccup in the mixing, and it’s so subtle most people won’t hear it). The two most impressive parts of the band live, aside from the energy, are the vocal performance by Anderson, and Nally’s explosive drumming, and both are on display on Panic Vertigo. There are clear classic rock influences at work on Revolution, and while it doesn’t wrap up the recording in a way that makes me feel complete, it’s a solid track, that could have found its place within a full album.
With two EP’s and 8 songs released, I’m not sure “what’s next” for The Wrecks, outside a full slate of touring in 2018. The 8 songs they’ve released so far all work well together, and are just a few songs away from being an incredible album. Perhaps that’s not something bands will be focusing on anymore, but as far as EP’s go, The Wrecks have two pretty good ones. My advice to the listener: put a playlist together with We Are The Wrecks followed by Panic Vertigo; it will give you 8 songs and 27 minutes that flow together nicely. Then go catch The Wrecks on tour, as their live show really brings these songs to the next level.