LA based garage punks Together Pangea are set to release their new album Bulls and Roosters on August 25th through Nettwerk Records, the band scream and shout themes of love, heartbreak and disappointment over a mix of country rock and punk, with fuzzy riffs and harsh percussion separated by metallic guitar solos.
The opening track “Sippy cup” must be the most mild opener to a rock record, however it’s a very chilled out track, nothing too explosive. The vocals are solid, the melodies aren’t too elaborate but aren’t too simple, the hook is exciting, with lyrics “I got my sippy cup, you got your wedding gown” and pleasant verses about a fun love with no cares in the world, it’s an innocent tune hidden under 50’s diner riffs and loud symbol patterns.
Second track “The cold” really opens up the album with pitch shifting 90’s style metal vocals complemented with self deprecating lyrics transitioning into an uplifting, hopeful rock n roll banger, lines like “the cold can’t kill me twice” and “this cough can go to hell” gives the song a proud sense of achievement that’s present all the way until the fade out.
Bringing their influences into the noughties, “Kemore Ave.” is a fast paced, downhearted, and loud track with an emphasis on punk styles, ditching their country atmosphere for a modern, brokenhearted love song.
“Money on it” is a slow burning and a heavy hearted tune, with acoustic guitars and hollow backing vocals, the lethargic sounds with the tired vocals makes the song feel like a repetitive bore, and with little progression apart from a harsh shift in the vocals and unoriginal solo it feels as if the song didn’t quite hit the mark compared to the rest of the album.
My personal favourite on the record, “Better find out” is an explosive, instant classic, with fierce melodies and fiery riffs, ear piercing percussion with stuttering hi hats and crashing symbols, accompanied by head rocking vocals. The brash solo manages to hit a sweet spot bleeding into the atmosphere drenched tune with a thrilling shred.
“Peach mirror” opens up with a summery vibe, exploring a pleasant melody progressing into light hearted symbol patterns and reverb focused riffs under heartsick lyrics and hurt vocals. The chorus brings in an eerie atmosphere with lines like “it’s ok to spread to disease” sung with hollow locals before transitioning into a fade out lead by radio chatter.
Rhythm heavy and 80’s rock influenced, seventh track “Gold moon” follows a “find yourself” journey with uplifting lyrics and positive imagery with a golden moon and night drive being the main focus. Realised through clean riffs and repetitive chord patterns.
However, by this point in the album everything feels a little repetitive, a lot of the riffs feel similar, the atmosphere and general vibe feel burnt out, and truthfully there isn’t much else to write about without saying the same thing about different songs, but fortunately there are some redeeming traits in the other tracks.
“Friend of nothing” has a upbeat skater rock vibe to it, with frustrated vocals and colourful riffs dancing on top of fast drum beat, this track is probably the most unique on the album, with an eerie solo drowning in reverb. Ninth track “Stare at the sun” is the stoner track on the album, with unenthusiastic vocals and repetitive melodies with subtle synth progressions, the lethargic lyrics are an uneasy mix of uplifting and downhearted.
“Southern comfort” is a real rock n roll tune to dance to in your bedroom, with bright chord patterns and easy going sing a long vocals, “southern comfort” is definitely a fun track, but the niceties of the riffs and upbeat drumming creates an atmosphere devoid of any meaning.
Title track “Bulls and roosters” is a true to its name punk song, with messy chords, loud angry vocals mixed with hollow riffs and nirvana esque percussion, lyrics mentioning 666 and other religious themes creep up in the track, but with a pointless hollow break in the middle, what was a heavy atmosphere disappears and the rest of the track is only redeemed by a frightening solo.
“Is it real?” is the longest track on the record, and the most mellow, with questioning lyrics through tired vocals, the atmosphere is set for a trippy 4 minutes. Themes about death, “what could have been” situations and denial, the track is the most thought provoking on Bulls and Roosters.
Final track “Alison” ties up the album, bringing the mix of genres together in a country heavy storytelling song. The lovesong theme adds a nice layer to the track but after that it’s not all that special.
Overall, I think Bulls and Roosters is a solid album with a lot of good moments, however I do feel as though it would have worked better as an EP with a max of 5 tracks, because once you’re halfway through the album you’ve already heard the other half. I’d give it a 6/10. The album is out on the 25th of August.
Words by Sam Harris. Featured image by Derek Perlman