Jan 2022 03

Album CoverNaked Raygun
Album: Over the Overlords
Category: Punk / Alternative
Label: WaxTrax Records
Release Date: 2021-08-02


 

Following 31 years after the band’s last release of new material and 29 years since the initial dissolution, Naked Raygun has returned with Over the Overlords, the culmination of nearly 15 years of waiting after the band announced that it was “back for good” in 2006. Age clearly has not tempered these prominent Chicago punks as the album showcases that distinct mix of raw and abrasive Windy City underground, with lyrics addressing numerous social ills with the sort of irreverent sense of humor that flippantly belies a greater significance. Jeff Pezzati’s energetic but controlled vocal delivery stands front and center, cleanly mixed against Bill Stephens’ guitar, which just screams simple and straightforward, grating through the speakers noisily in classic punk fashion, yet with a clean touch that stays remarkably tight and focused. For instance, he strums a swinging flamenco-style rhythm on “Suicide Bomb,” which along with Morgan Spencer’s gorgeous background vocals makes for a memorable track. There’s the galloping rhythm of his riffs on “Superheroes,” shared with the strident drumming of Eric Spicer and Pezzati’s diatribes against fascists, big oil, Coca-Cola, and the State at large, his chants of “Do it all for you” undeniably infectious. As well, “Amishes” resounds of catchy punk discord, while others like “Treat Me Unkind” and “Black and Grey” bear traces of the ‘50s, demonstrating the band’s accessible songwriting without delving too heavily into trendy pop. Another example would be “Living in the Good Times” with its exceptional chorus and a guitar ringing like a siren atop the saccharine melody, lyrics like “Gonna fight while I’m going down” acting as a statement of both defiance and revival appropriate to Naked Raygun’s return; as well, the luscious and gritty bass tone shared by Fritz Doreza and the late Pierre Kezdy is given greater prominence in Paul Barker’s remix of the song. Gun violence in the U.S. may be a taboo subject for some, but the band virulently and unapologetically addresses it on “Farewell to Arms,” with lines like “’Til conceal and carry ends, just how many dead friends will you bury?” tugging at the heartstrings almost as poignantly as “Ode to Sean McKeough” pays tribute to the Chicago legend – co-owner of the Cobra Lounge and co-founder of Riot Fest – who passed away in 2016. With Over the Overlords mixed and co-produced by Steven Gillis, Naked Raygun’s music remains as powerful and as imperative as ever, the band exhibiting a youthful exuberance that few can replicate in advancing years. At long last, Naked Raygun is back!
 
Track list:

  1. Intro
  2. Go the Spoils
  3. Living in the Good Times
  4. Soul Hole Baby
  5. Vijay’s Big Organ
  6. Superheroes
  7. Treat Me Unkind
  8. Suicide Bomb
  9. Broken Things
  10. Amishes
  11. Eric’s Across the Street
  12. Black and Grey
  13. Ode to Sean McKeough
  14. Farewell to Arms
  15. Outro Outre
  16. Living in the Good Times [Paul Barker Remix]
  17. Knock Me Down (Live 2015)

 
Naked Raygun
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WaxTrax! Records
Website, Webstore, FAcebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube
 
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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