Wringer / Trapper Keeper - Split [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Wringer / Trapper Keeper

Split [7-inch] (2012)

Sound Workshop

I was already familiar with Bloomington, Ind.-based trio Wringer, having seen them play a few times and picking up a copy of their debut EP Cool Story. Fellow trio Trapper Keeper, from Burlington, Vt., I had never heard before. Upon thorough investigation, these two bands have a bunch of common traits, both fitting into that vague realm of "orgcore," and yet you would never confuse them for each other. It makes for a nice collection; five quick shots of melodic punk.

Wringer play the kind of punk you can't help but love: poppy but not sugary, gritty but still very musical. Fans of everything from classic Green Day to Lawrence Arms to Teenage Bottlerocket will find many, many things to like about this band. They employ two lead singers in this trio, which I love, and Anthony Elliott also happens to be a very inventive guitarist within the oft-constricting realm of pop-punk, staying out of the way of the bass with more unorthodox chordings and melodic embellishments. "Enter the Gecko" features a start-stop intro, and later a bunch of great gang vocals and harmonies screaming "We all fall down!" "Dumb Bastards" is chock full of super fast palm muting and stacks and stacks more of vocal harmonies. Somehow it seems both instant and epic in it's two-minute package.

Trapper Keeper are little harsher vocally than Wringer, and a bit more straightforward musically, utilizing tried-and-true power-chord progressions. Double-time "1930 Miles to Austin" rages like a classic Brendan Kelly jam, a barrage of gruffness that nearly makes the notes contained in the melody evaporate into the ether. "Only Dicks Don't Like Green Day," with its speedy chord changes, sounds like it would fit on Kerplunk up until the vocals enter. "Bill Fucking Murray" is the strongest song of the set, kicking the tempo back up to double-time, climaxing and then breaking down to a drums n' vox ending, the guitars simply fading into feedback. At 2:46 it's the longest track of theirs by over a minute, and the longer playing time allows them to grow the song. They would do well to try more of this in the future, rather than the "hit it n' quit it" approach of their other two songs here.

For me, it was a nice, albeit short, introduction to Trapper Keeper, and a reminder that Wringer are one of the better melodic punk bands going in the Midwest right now.