Yankee Brutal, despite the silly name, is deadly serious in their debut release “The Everlasting Greed”. It is rare that one hears a debut of this focus, intensity, and quality from a band comprised of (former) members of unremarkable local acts. Sacramento, CA really seems to be a hotbed of new and excellent bands these days, and “Yankee Brutal” is a solid addition to the lineup.
When Dave gave this to me to review, I gave it a quick distracted listen and decided that I didn’t like it. This is good sign. Most records that I like right away get old right away as well. I wrote them off (as I did The Flatliners) as just another double-time Epifat punk band. It turns out I like this record better with each listen. There is plenty here to grab my attention, and plenty more to hold it. It is definitely one of the more memorable (in a good way) albums that I’ve heard this year.
The opener “America; The Unjust” is an “Exit English” blazer of an intro. Misuses of semicolons aside, it introduces the overall energy and intent of the record nicely and segues smoothly into the title track, a (slightly) more moderated tune along the lines of “Illusion of Safety” era Thrice. The whole record is somewhere between Strike Anywhere and early Thrice, with Nineties hardcore thrown in for spice. In other words, it’s right in my wheelhouse.
*Editor’s Note #2: The copy the reviewer received had a different track numbering than the finished product.
“Homesick” opens and closes with a crazy guitar lead that I’m not sure what exactly is going on, but sounds like a combination between slot machines and a Palm Desert methamphetamine addict. Somehow it works, as this is one of my favorite songs.
“The Everlasting Greed” balances seamlessly between screamy and singy, thrashy and melodic, technical and banging-on-chords. None of the songs overstay their welcome, which, coming from me [attention span], is high praise. Brevity is a sign of careful consideration of songcraft. I’m always excited to hear a band that realizes that anything over three minutes is just a waste of energy. Only ONE track exceeds the limit on this record, and only by two seconds – BRAVO!
Perhaps there are other places for this band to go – they’ve got strong lyrics, despite a couple of cringe-worthy clichés (“Fuck society!” in the track Modern World), strong choruses, and excellent arrangement sensibilities. Keep your eyes on these guys – if they keep releasing records like this and touring they could easily be on a lot of “favorite band” lists. Personally, I can’t wait to play a show with them.
You can stream the entire album here.