Punk rock has a penchant for being uninviting. It’s just the nature of the genre–loud, often incomprehensible yawps from politically-charged bandleaders backed by blasts of noise. I’m not shitting on punk (I enjoy my fair share), but I realize these are some pretty broad strokes I’m painting with. My angle–punk rock is also a vastly multi-faceted genre. Take Total Yuppies for example–their flavor is decidedly punk, yet they somehow remain infinitely relatable and fun to listen to. Their lyrics are accessible, their melodies and progressions at once infectious and gritty. Their latest release, CARE EP, impresses once again, a testament to their ever-tight delivery of material and the quality of the material itself. CARE is our Album of the Week.
CARE is both an appropriately and somewhat ironically titled record; the band strays from the emotionally-steadfast plane of punk rock with lyrics and themes that slice with every day relevancy. The 5 song EP seems to chronicle a romantic disconnect, subsequent break up, and the resulting emotional fallout. But the songs favor introspective observations over self-pity and wallowing, strengthened by a genuine lyrical delivery tightly-knit with fast and furious instrumentation. It’s a blend seldom perfected, but the Yups have got it down.
“Move the Rug” opens the record with some unadulterated rock and roll, verses choppy and well-arranged with torrential fuzz choruses. That deep fuzz is pretty representative of the overall feel of the record– loud, kind of pissed, mostly relentless. “Ever Ever” and album closer “Trash U” are both perfect storms in that regard. Yet, the fervor does clear up occasionally to make way for some excellent surprises, (arpeggio breakdown in “Ever Ever, I’m looking at you), but namely in album cool-down track “Nothing.” The song listens like a nod to 90’s alternative, with an up-in-the-clouds guitar lead, swirling vocal harmonies, and some of that Yuppies signature crunch in the choruses.
CARE is more than a listenable handful of garage rock songs; the EP weaves mindful songwriting with deliciously unforgiving instrumentation, and does it well. The album is available now via Dadstache Records and the bands’ bandcamp page, snag one right now.