Rock ‘n Roll Through It All


Out of Sydney’s backwater comes the newest album release from garage-punk rockers Bang! Bang! Rock ‘n Roll. Entitled RAD, the LP has been debuted following a spate of anticipatory EP’s, lineup changes, set-backs and reincarnations.

The band released through social media that, “ we wanted to make a 60’s garage rock album. We had no money, our guitarist/singer just left the band, eight hours booked in a studio, and 10 tracks to lay down live in single takes. It’s mistakes and all, bare bones rock and roll. It’s free if you want.”

But despite this apologetic launch, the album’s saving grace amongst fucked-up lines, the occasional problems with tune, and a raucously raw sound – is that it is blistering catchiness incarnate.

Jessie D is like the backing track to a disco-ball spangled slow-dance. But instead it comes across like a couple’s prom waltz in Carrie –plenty of heartbreak and eventual carnage. A doo-wop homage is mingled with screeched climatic punk. It’s beseeching and pained but ridiculously fun. An album favourite.

Despite the garage context, the album has a few sweet little love songs not dissimilar to Jessie D. Both Be With You and I Love You are grungy and romantic, with a tender message that is toughened into big-muffed goodness and plenty of wailed harmonies.

To explain my feelings in regard to Just Wanna Play Rock And Roll, I need to make another cinematic reference. In the very beginning of Almost Famous, Zooey Deschanel’s character plays America by Simon and Garfunkle to Frances McDormand as a way of explaining her upper/middle-class rebellion. If I could do the same with any song, I’d probably use Just Wanna Play Rock And Roll. The lyrics are stupidly simple; “don’t wanna work my shitty job, my family thinks I’m a lazy slob. Can’t put my energy into one thing. I just wanna play guitar and sing.” Genius. The tagline of a post-grunge generation. Even though I’m no Zooey Deschanel and Bang! Bang! Rock ‘n Roll should never be used in conjunction to Simon And Garfunkle, this feels oddly appropriate.

Toward the close of the album, after a fantastically shambolic cover of Liam Lynch’s United States Of Whatever, EP debuted Everybody Hates Me and Don’t Want To Go Home make appearances. Though the previous recordings and releases had much better sound quality, the choice to rerecord has lead to continuity throughout the album. A ballsy decision; sacrificing the polish of former recordings, but one that must be admired.

Sure, there are technical failings in RAD, but circumstantially these can be acknowledged with respect. It suits perfectly their chaotic, catchy punk, and fulfils their promise of “mistakes and all, bare bones rock and roll”. In the end, the quality of these crazy fun tunes outweighs the lack of recording quality. And despite all challenges, the album RAD has been aptly named.

Hear it below:

bianca cornale
Words by Bianca Cornale. If you’re in Sydney, you can see the band at Flinders Hotel on May 14, Somedays Gallery on May 22nd, and The Backroom on May 23rd.: