EP Review: Useless ID – ‘We Don’t Want the Airwaves’

Having spent a few years away from the studio (either to tour or go solo), Useless ID is gearing up to release their eighth studio album, State Is Burning this summer. To give fans a preview of what to expect from the new album, the band released We Don’t Want the Airwaves, a four song EP featuring a tune from the album, an acoustic version of another tune from the album, and two b-sides that didn’t make the cut. It might not sound like much, but the band doesn’t pull any punches here.

The EP’s title track, “We Don’t Want the Airwaves” is, as you might expect, a tribute to the Ramones. Perhaps you’ve heard this before already, but 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the first Ramones album, which, in turn, makes the Punk Rock genre 40 years old. (Okay, sure: The Stooges, MC5, The Sonics, The New York Dolls, and plenty of others were already putting out albums before 1976, but Ramones marks the first punk album that everyone can agree on being a punk album, as opposed to slapping the “proto-punk” label on it.) The genre has come a long way since then, but there are countless bands today that still look back to the four brothers (not literally, obviously) from Queens as their biggest inspiration.

Between being named after an underappreciated mid-period Ramones tune, working nearly every Ramones album title into the lyrics at least once, and admitting to not caring for other early punk acts, “We Don’t Want the Airwaves” is full on Ramones tribute in every way. Teenage Bottlerocket’s Ray Carlisle (another well known Ramones fanatic) even drops in during the bridge, and, in a touching moment, the song also pays tribute to the late Brandon Carlisle at the end.

The next two, EP exclusive tracks, highlight Useless ID’s songwriting abilities in two very different ways. “Right Wing Fascist Killing Spree” is a short acoustic number, similar to lead vocalist’s Yotam Ben Horin’s solo career. It’s a fun ditty, but given it’s short length and acoustic presentation, it makes sense that it was relegated to b-side status. The other track, “Tension,” is a full ban outing and more likely indicative of what to expect from the new album. There’s a slow build at the beginning, and although the song doesn’t reach blitzkrieg speeds, it’s still plenty heavy and a worthy entry to the band’s song catalogue..

The EP’s final tune is an acoustic version of their upcoming album’s title track. It’s a quick song, and sounds even more like a solo Yotam tune in the beginning, but it gives listeners something new while still leaving room for surprise when the full band version drops in July.

As a precursor to a new full length, We Don’t Want the Airwaves achieves a lot in very little time. In under ten minutes, the EP shows off a new tune and provides new songs without giving away everything that the band has to offer on the album. And in that sense, it’s an extremely well done EP. If you haven’t heard it already, you should get on that.

4 / 5 – Listen to We Don’t Want the Airwaves below.

RIYL: No Use for a Name, Rufio, Lagwagon

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