"Born A Wise Man"
November 05, 2013 - No Idea
It's been six years since A Wilhelm Scream last graced the punk scene with a proper full-length of their expertly crafted, technically able, wisecracking style that nails that hidden sweet spot between grizzled skatepunk and melodic hardcore. Hell, it's been four years since they really gave us much of anything, but Partycrasher satiates the long wait.
After the disarmingly simple double-time of opener "Boat Builders," Partycrasher hits a great early stride. "The Last Laugh" shows that frontman Nuno Pereira can still bark out fresh, dagger-like hooks after almost two decades, and then he leads AWS through the classic rock reference-loaded "Devil Don't Know," an anthem destined to be a new set list staple for their following of bearded 30-somethings. "Number One" adopts a slightly darker tone, while "Gut Sick Companion" has somewhat of a Mute Print vibe.
Some of the in-song transitions feel occasionally rushed or shoehorned ("Wild Turkey"), but if it prevents a whole song from standing out, there are moments to hang onto anyway, from Pereira's blip of gut-check intensity during "Hairy Scarecrow" to the shred-and-hook bait of "Ice Man Left A Trail." While there's a comparative lull towards the end of the record, it's redeemed by closer "Born A Wise Man," a shit-kicker that shuts the whole thing down with relentless energy, classic AWS riffing and Pereria howling with precision.
Partycrasher certainly doesn't meet the wild speed or Blasting Room Studio boldness (though they did mix this one) of 2007's arguable high-water mark Career Suicide, and it doesn't go for the musically complex heights reached on both that album and 2009's self-titled, self-produced EP. But the band's seemingly wised up on their home recording methods, as it sounds less snuffed than that EP, and its cleaner, more ferocious tone does this batch of songs well, pushing them back closer to their genius Nitro Records days. A Wilhelm Scream might think they're crashing 2013's punk party, but they've actually been its returning guest of honor the whole time.