When I settled in to listen to “With Our Powers Combined” by Destroy Nate Allen, the first thing I did was set my speakers up facing outside. I moved my favorite recliner onto the back patio and started eyeballing some gardening tasks I could tackle without distracting me from listening to the tracks. I find that often we set ourselves up to have a bad time, like when you buy MDMA from the guy with the spider tattooed on his head before going to a restaurant you’ve never tried. Everyone knows that you’re going to stroke the waiter’s face, flip over a table, and spend the night getting pounded from behind by your new cell mate who likes it when you call him “Shirley;” there’s no way you’re going to want to go to that restaurant again.
So instead, I chose to have a good time. For those who don’t know, Destroy Nate Allen is a husband/wife duo comprised of Nate and Tessa Allen out of Portland, Oregon. They started out acoustic but with this album have moved into a whole band experience to accentuate their frenetic and ridiculous energy.
Beyond these precious details, I was especially motivated to like it because they personally asked me to do this review. It’s like they’ve handed me their child and asked me to take care of it for them, giving me this sense of responsibility. I mean, it’s different when you kidnap a child; you have the freedom to fling it around, lock it up in your basement, maybe forget to feed it for a day or two, but here a certain respect and trust has been bestowed upon me that I can’t rightly ignore.
But I needn’t have gone to such precautions, the album would have been fantastic even if I had been giving gynecological exams at the senior center. It’s wild, it’s high energy, and in the rare moments you’re not hearing the chorus, you’re certainly hearing a hook. Even where it shifts into a low key lament such as “I Need To Know,” it swiftly apologizes with the exuberantly loud, eleven second “We’re Gonna Make It.”
To jump back a metaphor, “With Our Powers Combined” is something of the red-headed step child of the punk world. Despite there being horns on only three songs, it’s definitely something the ska kids would enjoy. Anyone who likes fun will like this record, which means that some of you punks are going to hate it. To review it from the perspective of some of our crustier friends, it’s poppy, it’s childish, and isn’t really punk.
Fuck that guy.
While I would agree that this band would be a fantastic fit on Yo Gabba Gabba, I don’t see that as an insult. Sure, it’s very straightforward and you’re unlikely to need a thesaurus at any point, but I think they’ve keyed in on what makes a good time for anyone willing to participate in their own special brand of madness. Hey, DNA, if you do end up on the show, see if they’ll let you play “Boobie Bar.” I think it’s good for kids to learn the importance of the strain it can put on a relationship when you spend all your time at a strip club.
So to sum up, this hard working husband and wife team raised the money to record this super fun sing along album at the Atomic Garden with a Kickstarter campaign. It’s like all the forces of nature combined to make this exactly the sort of thing you can’t help but get behind. Ask Shirley.