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Review: Wall, Wall EP

Wall, Wall EP (Wharf Cat Records, 1/15/16)

Wall are a 4-piece hailing from New York City, not that you’d need me to tell you that upon listening to their new, eponymous EP.  Each track feels like a glaze of detached, old school downtown cool stretched over the twitchy, black/white UK version of early “post-punk” (used in quotation marks, ‘cuz I’m not really sure what that means anymore) and new wave.  A no wave new wave, then?  Right.  I’ll just get my coat…

Who can be bothered over categories, really, when the songs are this good.  Upon first listen, several familiar sounds come through:  Slits, Bush Tetras, Gang of Four, Crass, Basement 5 (lead track, “Cuban Cigars” reminds of “Mind Your Own Business”), on through riot grrrl, and newer bands like Savages and Vexx.  Over tightly coiled arrangements, vocalist Sam York (duties shared with bandmates Vince McClelland and Elizabeth Skadden) careens between the raised fist delivery of lines like “fresh baked bread/keeps the pigs well fed” (“Cuban Cigars”) and the detached, shrug of the shoulders and flick of the cigarette towards the gutter malevolence of “those mistresses/they don’t just lay there/at night/they prowl.…” (“Milk”).  Closer “Milk” is a highlight, swirling all of the band’s various elements in a compelling symmetry.

The Wall EP is out now, on the great Wharf Cat Records label. Check the band – and their current tour dates – on their website.