Great minds coming together to create a break through debut album
Breaking their way onto the musical scene, Blunt Bang marches in with their debut album, Proper Smoker. Like a place from the late ’90s, early 2000s pop-punk, this album brings the flavors of Franz Ferdinand-esque tones mixed with black keys and pop-punk twangy male vocals. Blunt Bang is a powerhouse group made up of heavy hitters from bands like Black Kids, The Cadets and Woods, which in turn coined the name of a supergroup. Proper Smoker is jammed full of in-the-face powerhouse indie pop-rock/punk sound carrying a face-paced tempo throughout.
The band found its start in Athens, Georgia. This supergroup is made up of Reggie Youngblood of Black Kids and Christian “Smokey” DeRoeck (Woods, Deep State, Meneguar and Little Gold) on guitar and vocals. They are accompanied by Cash Carter (Tracy Shedd, The Cadets) on drums, with Drew Vandenberg as their producer. Each artist joins in bringing their own flavors into the mixture, now creating power-pop songs that bring in elements of the ’90s and somewhat nostalgic early 2000s tones. This feeling of nostalgia and feeling of home was the game plan for the band. They compiled catchy hooks that gave the effect of childhood friends coming together to create, making even the listener feel like they are a part of the group. Proper Smoker is a musical project constructed by a few great minds coming together and truly expressing themselves in ways that are different from previous bands and projects. It is a fun record that moves quickly and is the truest example of indie power-pop punk.
The first single, “Decide,” showcases the flavor to come with the rest of the record. Right from the start, the song charges in with pounding percussion, bursting with high-energy guitar and vocals that resemble Cohead and Cambria join in. “Decide” keeps the tempo high and rocking through the track, never once letting up, though it does at times feel like the track stays a bit stagnant. The track is fun and upbeat but somewhat two-dimensional.
“Silence Is Golden” is a tonal mixture of Americana and blues power-pop. This track once again houses a blasting percussive element that keeps the energy turned up to an eleven. Vocally, it resembles that of Bob Dylan mixed with some Black Keys style blue rock with scorching solos that ring out in the middle. “Silence Is Golden” definitely presents many more layers than “Decide,” offering a larger soundscape to listen to.
“Sick Moves” comes with dragging The-Cure-style vocals that really play with the soft ’90s punk-pop tone. This track, in its own way, is a ballad, yet it still houses edgy and gritty guitar solos that at first sound punchy and cool, but in the end becomes too much for the ears to handle along with the crashing percussion.
The last single to come off the record is “Odessa,” which of the singles is the highlight. This song is filled with a lush, airy guitar that flows endlessly with, at times, the perfect amount of grit to its tone. Here, the drums take the back seat and it really is the vocals, and guitar that dance brightly in the front. Though do not fear, the drums ride being the perfect icing on the cake for the track keeping everything in place balancing everything perfectly.
The closing track, “Hot Potato,” is a fun hop that musically dances along the tempo from smooth verses to choppy hooks. Almost like tossing a hot potato from hand to hand, the hook has a sharp choppy rhythm and breaks up the gliding vocals and guitar of the verses. This is the perfect album ending that goes out with a bang of energy down to the last second.
Blunt Bangs really put their musical minds together and crafted an album full of influence and fast-paced jams. Proper Smoker is the perfect upper record that gives anyone listening to it a slight pep in their step.