Sometimes, it’s perfectly clear that an album was produced by a group of seasoned genre veterans. Once you’ve spent enough time with a certain style of music, you can pick out exactly what defines a refined approach; namely, a heightened focus on composition over instrumental flash. In my experience, this is especially true with post-punk. Countless young bands spring up each year with a singular goal of being as brash and moody as possible, often times at the expense of crafting well-conceived ideas.
On the other hand, we have bands like Walking Bicycles, who are entering their 15th year as a band and know exactly how post-punk is supposed to work. case in point, the psyched-out, groove-laden track “Fat Cat” from their upcoming album Chooch. The track is both a fitting lead single and an obviously appropriate album opener, what with its inherent qualities and well-balanced tone. “Fat Cat” manages to both whet the listener’s palette while also adding some bold sonic flavors to the mix.
At its core, “Fat Cat” is all about walking the line between post-punk and no wave sensibilities. A recurring, slightly chaotic guitar refrain hearkens back to the days of bands like Ut, or like more recent acts like Palberta. The addition of some slight psychedelic guitar tones and patterns also adds just the right amount of unique flair. Underneath is an alluring bass groove, accompanied by thumping, crashing percussion to keep the track rolling at a steady clip. Tying it all together is Jocelyn Summers, who strikes a perfect balance between that moody, post-punk deadpan and the pure attitude of the aforementioned groups, perhaps with a bit of Sleater-Kinney thrown into the mix.
Altogether, the track is incredibly rewarding. It both recalls the greatest qualities of post-punk while never relying on the genre’s tropes to be successful. “Fat Cat” feels very much like a song produced by a band that knows exactly how to craft a successful iteration of the genre, drawing a decade-and-a-half of experience to make it so. The track is clearly a precursor to an album every post-punk fan should have on their radar.
Chooch is available April 26 via Highwheel Records.