It's not often that you hear a band playing 90's style punk and think "Hmm, this is new..." but since about 2014, Sydney punks Nerdlinger have been doing exactly that for me. More and more with every release, their 2015 EP "Trendsetter" really stepped it up a notch from previous, and saw the band head All over Australia, to New Zealand, as well as properly overseas. To Japan. TWICE!! But, I digress.
Flash forward a few years, a couple of singles, and over 350 live shows, we see Sydney's hardest working punk band doing what they do best. Fucking killing it! Signed to Pee Records for the release of "Happy Place," Nerdlinger have just started on the first leg of their release tour, and they're not stopping there.
The Verdict? 4/5. - It does exactly what we want a punk album to do, and then a little more. Happy Place has its highs and lows, and it does it with more depth than previous releases. It's safe to say they've come a long way from Winnipeg, with a track in there that I think throws back nicely to show some retrospect.
Favourite track: Underrated. Why? I think it's a good snapshot of the record. But you can read more below:
Nerdlinger - Happy Place
What's a punk album without an intro? Nobody knows. We've never tried. 30 Seconds Of Satisfaction is the fireball shot we need to enter this album, even though we know we've got 13 fast paced beers to chase it down with.
The second track flows in without taking a breath. Scotty McNairn's Vocals tear in over the guitar arpeggio riffs that Nerdlinger is known for, and we're away. Contagious is a punk song about moving forward, looking back. It might not be a new concept, but it's just so damn relatable. it also gives us a quick heads up to how fast we'll be moving with this album.
The next 2 tracks in Can Yu Forgive Me and The Ballad Of Rod Lightning fang through their verses, choruses, intros and outros like a bull at a gate. It's fast, but it only took a few seconds to remember that Rod Lighting was both the first single off the album and one of my favourite songs to sing from the crowd, (check the woah oh oh's and the oooohhhh's)
Sails see's the band take a rest, for 17 seconds. (tac vom anyone?) A quick verse and that "All your happiness" harmony is gold! I was also stoked to hear Ash Wilderink have a little sing in the bridge, giving both this song, and the album some more depth. She also plays some brass later on!
The next track caught me by surprise a little: It starts slow, introspective and almost sad. The intro has a Blink 182 / Alkaline Trio vibe maybe? It's a bit of a break from the breakneck speed so far. Then, almost exactly halfway through Underrated, there's a change, and it all turns around! "Hold on tight to say the least" I Think We're gonna be ok!
I think one of my favourite things about this album is just how far this band has come since Trendsetter. The songwriting has taken a massive leap. Creativity has come out in droves, and the current lineup has totally gelled. Fat Gav combines Cannings' ridiculous high BPM drumming ability with more great vocals, until the band gives way to Ash and Dave Berry on horns to bring it home!
The contrast in Tim Bulmer's vocals in Sunny Days is huge, and hearing Scotty on BV's just works. There's even strings! Props to Antix on pulling it together in the mix. It's really hard to be objective when you're that close to the project.
German Wings has been a live winner for as long as I can remember (about 3 or 4 Nerdlinger live sets, at best) and is a testament to their musicianship. If you don't believe me, come watch a show. They do this live, every time.
Miyajima Cockroaches blasts back into another 90s / 2000s melodic hardcore number, possibly about the shrines in Fukishima? I don't really know, You'll have to ask them at a show. But there's also a nice little guitar solo in here.
Dave Berry is back, along with our mate Ess-Em on accordion on Song of the Damned. and it's another party! There's samples, sweet, sweet gang vox, and screaming.
Milk actually fits with an older song cookies from "Back to Winnipeg" It also quotes Billy Madison, and while it's obviously not a serious song, I still hope they play it during their launch shows.
Closing the album is Superficial. What a closer! There's plenty going on and this track is a great recap of the musical prowess that is Nerdlinger. I can't wait to see this song being huge live, and I just hope they play the whole album start to finish at their launch at the Chippo
"Now that I know exactly what i wan't: To never be somebody, somebody that i'm not."
Check out Pee Records here.
Buy "Happy Place" here
Check out the tour here