Waves of Fury - Thirst (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Waves of Fury

Thirst (2012)

Alive Records

The problem with so much with genre-Clash music is that the two genres have nothing to do with each other and frankly, just don't mesh. But, when the congruent parts can be found by a deft enough band, such as when the Clash mixed punk with reggae, or when Funkadelic mixed rock with funk, the combination is greater than the sum of the parts. In doing so, the mix creates something completely new, despite the familiarity of the pieces. Waves of Fury's Thirst could probably be described as a genre-clash and most surprisingly, is how damn well it mixes together sloppy, drunken punk with blues and soul music. Also, they are vampires.

The decision to snap punk into soul does make a certain sense. Both forms are art that spawns from the gut. Soul music isn't meant to be played or listened to like some milquetoast indie band that rare gets above a whimper. Soul music slams you across the room and gets you jumping. Likewise, punk rock is meant to get you screaming, shaking and generally upset. Waves of Fury see this and pick the most volatile parts of both genres to make music that isn't punk and soul separately, but its blues and punk at the same time.

Namely, both "Death of a Vampire" and "Businessman's Guide to Witchcraft" have horn lines that could easily fit on Stevie Wonder's most thunderous jams. but, while the horns soar high and proudly, the vocals and guitars come crashing down in dirty sheets of reverb, much like how Funhouse's guitars were as much sledgehammer thwomps as they were riffs.

But, while the band mixes the sonics well, they make the music something unique with the lyrics. The words drift in and out of tales of vampirism, living torment, greed and heavy drug usage. Not every song has a paranormal bent, but the physical lashing of the performance makes every song feel possessed. Soul music often seemed to reach for the divine, but paradoxically, Thirst through its raw execution, seems to sink its arms deep down down into the Earth.

"Killer Inside Me" kicks off with a Fats Domino-style wacky sax only to abruptly turn into an iggy-Style shrieking howl while a soulful guitar plinks in the background. The gradually increase in song intensity makes an interesting argument. Just as the Stooges were heavily influenced by Bo Diddley, perhaps punk is soul music made more savage. Thus, perhaps Thirst is the push of this journey to its end, where one music circles back around and instead of either being punk or soul, it is just, guttural pain. After all, isn't that pretty much what soul and punk is?