Space Traitors - Don't Go There (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Space Traitors

Don't Go There (2016)

Cassetteland


Space Traitors play a brand of rough-voiced yet melodic punk that reminds me most of Jawbreaker and Lifetime. Throw in a healthy dose of synths and you get that “space” element and a twist on the genre.

Opener “Walken Around” give me an early-Smoking Popes vibe in the melody, with main dude Ryan Hatton supplying solid hooks with a bit of grit and wobble like back before Josh Caterer got so velvety-smooth. Hatton’s melodies are solidly crafted, and while a little rough on the execution sometimes, bring big pleasurable moments like in the chorus of “Pushover,” backed by wailing backing vocals and epic organ chords.

While punk is focus here, there are some interesting side roads the album takes on occasion. The intro of “Banned for Lyfe” slows things down and pushes piano to the focus, fading the guitars back. Once it bursts into double time, you get some sweeping guitar slides in the chorus that I didn’t see coming. “Solid Ground” starts out with a cool shoegaze section, with reverb aplenty that takes you into outer space. “Finally Fall” starts with my favorite synth part on the record, like the rentals over a Fat Wreck beat, but then settles into a chugging verse that’s more Jawbreaker than anything thus far. This album jumps from one influence to the next in a way that surprises but totally make sense with repeated listens.

However, there are moments when the recording quality isn’t doing the band any favors. “Just an Idea,” a great song, ends with a solitary out of tune guitar chord. An easy thing to fix that shouldn’t have made the final mix. “Nightmare World” strips down to bass and drums in the intro, revealing cheesy midi bass guitar. There may not be actual bass guitar on any of the record, but exposed like that it’s obvious that it’s midi and I find it pretty cringe-worthy.

Space Traitors’ Don’t Go There stirs together all of their punk influences, add solid gritty hooks and finishes it off with a dash of spacey synth. While some of the rough edges are maybe a little too rough, this group shows a lot of promise.