Abrasive Wheels / The Up! Up! Ups! - Split [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Abrasive Wheels / The Up! Up! Ups!

Split [7-inch] (2017)

Rebel Sound

The Abrasive Wheels / Up! Up! Ups! Team-up record is part of series curated by Rebel Sound Records wherein long running first and second wave punkers are paired with new up-and-comers. This entry is particularly fitting.

Abrasive Wheels, while never achieving the widespread presence of many of their contemporaries, have remained in the punk history for no other reason that they are really, really good. Their two contributions here, “Nothing to Prove” and “Find Your Heart” are solidly in the bands oeuvre. As the band bashes out tunes that walk the line between first wave punk and street punk, they take care to keep solid songwriting and melody underneath their high energy attack. As we all know, Punk for the most part is just rock and roll played fast, and Abrasive Wheels display the virtue of this by keeping things catchy and aggressive. Both tracks are on the positive bend and circle around the concept of focusing on who you are, not what everything else is, but due to the band’s pragmatic view mired in their optimism, the track comes off a inspired instead of preachy. Well done.

On the flipside, new comers the Up! Up! Ups! Make a good case as to why they are making a name for themselves on Philly. Propelled by high charged classic rock sound, the band takes snap and catchiness of early rock acts like Wanda Jackson and Jerry Lee Lewis and shoot that through an Adverts/Rezillos exterior, creating a sound that is as fresh as it is reverent for the classics. The real crusher here is “My Boyfriend’s Got Another Girlfriend” where vocalist Molly Jacobs uses her powerful pipes to flip between sweet cooing and soulful edge an then proceeds to detail how she offs unfaithful boyfriend. Best line? “I told him that I’d be his forever/ he told me that he’d rather date Heather/ When I see him late at night /I’m gonna give him a fright/ no more hearts for him to break/now he’s at the bottom of a lake.” The trick of the tune is that the subject of the song has been wronged, but then, is her revenge befitting of the crime? The beauty is that despite the overkill attack, we can all identify with the character’s motivations. This is the mark of great songwriting, people.

One old and one new and both are showing that there is great stuff ahead for both. To me, this is what punk is all about.