9 stars

Formed in 2013, WACO (pronounced Way-Co, not to be confused with delicious, popular Mexican food “taco”) describe themselves excitingly as a “cosmic punk quartet”. They mash together punk, hardcore and surfer rock into their 5-track EP, “UPRISE”, set for release June 10th. Prior to this release, they’ve been hitting the road hard with the likes of Juliette and the Licks, The Dirty Nil and The King Blues.

The release opens with “A Mighty Hope”, a big opener with a massive intro teasing as to the direction they’re going to go. As soon as it drops in you can feel the energy they have put into the record, and the unified shouting of a gaggle of men being fired into your ears for three minutes straight. It’s a powerful combination of angst and joyful inclusion with which they do this that keeps it fresh and interesting, while gripping you intently and not letting go. “SE17” picks you up, driving around parts of London and spilling the guts of a story about a girl they once knew – this track brilliantly demonstrates their ability to write a catchy chorus hook and get it stuck in your head. The use of actual crowd enthusiasm is a great touch, with an air of late 90’s surf-punk making a strong appearance.

As we move through the gritty “Rotten Tooth”, into the ska-punk, loosely-tempoed “Nancy Guntrip” we are regaled more stories from their past, giving you an element of nostalgia for a friend you lost or the girl that got away. Reprising with “Salem” we hear more of the consistent, happy-go-lucky feel that they have been smashing in your face for the entirety of ‘UPRISE’. It’s encouraging seeing bands like WACO putting themselves out there and just making the music they love, and doing it well. Not one song from their repertoire would be out of place in a Skateboarding game or a party montage spliced into a movie about getting sexually intimate with a pastry-lattice woven, apple based dessert. “UPRISE is a hopeful record for hopeless people” – you have to hope they don’t give up the party any time soon. (9/10)

FFO: Rancid // The Explosion // The Bouncing Souls // [spunge]

Written by Fred Whatmore


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