Oakland California has delivered more than its fair share of bands to the pantheons of Punk Rock and I’d like to shine a light once again into that corner of the globe and give a big shout out to The Neighbourhood Brats and their Claw Marks.
Neighborhood Brats were formed in December 2010 by vocalist Jenny Angelillo, guitarist George Rager, drummer Kirk Podell and bassist Jasmine Watson. Originally based in San Francisco, Rager and Angelillo (the band’s principal songwriters) relocated frequently around and between northern and southern California during the band’s formative years releasing an EP back in 2013 followed by an LP a year later.
I reviewed a single back about twelve months ago and was really impressed so it was always a no brainer that I would get my mitts on a long player if it was to show up and then hey presto ‘Claw Marks’ is dropped. I might be slightly behind the curve but hey that’s punk rock for you and it takes a while to make it over to certain corners of this cursed island.
With Jenny and George being the two mainstays in the band and other musicians being utilised as and when claw Marks has a great flow to it. From the fast-paced melodic opener, ‘Dear Angelo’ Jenny’s vocals sound like she’s pacing herself for a marathon and not a sprint even if the rapid rhythm is more Bolt than a gentle stroll and that pace is carried through the first three songs with ‘Late Stage Capitalism’ being the pick of the opening salvo. some great guitar soloing to boot before the breakdown.
‘Night Shift’ is up next and it still sounds great and you have to love the furious piano tonking which also adds variety. Damn ‘Misery Parade’ is a blast and the playing is tight as fuck through the chord changes. The songs are relentless in their pursuit of each other as one hurtles out of the traps and bursts into flames the next one is along in the blink of an eye. With only a few time changes here and there it’s pretty one-paced (fast) I know its not that much of a stretch but imagine nomeansno playing the DK’s on ‘Nina’s ghost’ then we have a bit of a swerve with the pop melody of ‘Down 3rd’ before normal service is resumed for the closer ‘Touching The Void’ in fairness it mixes it up by not hurtling along in a wall of noise. It’s certainly an interesting album and has a style and is undeniably West coast in its DNA the songs are tight and the pair have worked hard to perfect them and its paid off. If you want fast tight punk with a bit of edge and great lyrics then ‘Claw Marks’ is what you should be reaching for. Before they record their third at least!
Buy Claw Marks Here
Author: Dom Daley