Shocktroopers - Heat Wave (Cover Artwork)


Heat Wave (2019)

Tranquilo Records

Shocktroopers come out of Rock Springs, Wyoming. And while they share a home state with the Lillingtons (of Newcastle) and Teenage Bottlerocket (of Laramie) and play well off of similar influences, they have a bit more work to do to reach the ridiculously high bar set by their fellow Wyomingites (that’s the real term - I looked it up).

Heat Wave is the latest Shocktroopers offering, a 9 song, 20 minute sprint through fairly familiar pop punk with lots of songs about heartbreak and girls. At their best, Shocktroopers offer a bit of angst with some hooky vocal phrasings and earworm melodies. Opener “Where’s The Key” has a great angsty verse with the end syllable of each line drawn out and accented by backing vocals and a chorus that’ll force its way into your brain. The band powers through with some solid rhythm guitar while pounding drums and melodic bass hold down the other end. It’s a good start. “Take My Heart” opens with a muted melodic guitar number before the full band kicks in and a more gravelly voice takes the lead, singing about falling head over heels for someone. The melody sung on the chorus is pretty unexpected. Really, the song seemed to be this decent but pedestrian song and then that chorus caught me off guard and I was hooked. Probably my favorite thus far. And the title track, “Heat Wave”, has an excellent bassline that carries the song and adds some flourishes to accent the lyrical lines. The repeated melody is cool and the chorus is a simple-good singalong.

While a lot of Heat Wave is good on the ears, there are a couple of missteps. The vocals on “Impossible” are pretty endearing, but the song itself seems like a quick throwaway, going nowhere and becoming kind of grating during its minute and a half run time. Later on, closer “Odie” has some decent stuff going on with a cool guitar riff and some nice vocal hooks. But at three minutes, it just goes on a bit too long and I end up losing interest.

The pop punk songs of Heat Wave show that Shocktroopers can put out solid music. With vocalists alternating nearly every other song, solid playing, catchy hooks, varying tempos, and sometimes surprising vocal melodies, this record has some stuff to come back to while still leaving room to move forward. Worth keeping an eye on.