BY LYDIA RIVERS
Virginia post-punk indie pop outfit Lance Bangs distinguishing cries are nearly jarring — harsh enough to make someone’s head spin, while making sure no one is so dizzy they can’t stand. Their fearlessly forceful delivery and lighthearted lyricism comes across as especially genuine, a refreshing sound that feels reminiscent of an old, adolescent punk rock anthem while simultaneously beyond fit for the new wave.
Lance Bangs put out six nasty sucker punch songs on their latest release, WHAMMY. With just about every track on the EP clocking in at around two minutes or less, they don’t waste any time launching into the opening lyrics within the very first beats. WHAMMY, released via Citrus City Records, arrives nearly four years after their debut EP, Lance Mountain, a project that the band said was the beginning of a gleaming new direction for them. Formerly known as Collin Thibodeauxx, their growth into the ethos of Lance Bangs since their previous release is apparent: their grimy, guttural cadence still doesn’t miss a beat while sounding more purposeful than ever before.
The EP kicks off with a pleasantly simplistic guitar riff and the first few words “Last night, I broke my arm / And you told me that it turned you on,” setting a surreal, humorous, and nearly dissociative tone with the lead track “Dead Man.” With a softly comforting melody, nonsensical subject matter, and emphatic vocals, Lance Bangs manages a balancing act between pushing a weightier punk sound and that of a hazier indie-pop. The pummeling “Spike” feels like wandering through the semi-related inner thoughts of a distracted consciousness, complete with absurd lyrics like “I sold my soul / In order to get lit” nearly akin to the manic spoken-word styling of a punk Hobo Johnson.
The song off WHAMMY that best encapsulates Lance Bangs is the previously released single and closing track, “Wash.” Over uncomplicated airy guitar riffs and drumming, the song highlights their vocals and epitomizes the same stream-of-consciousness
lyricism that appears throughout the entirety of the EP. The group has a knack for visuals too, releasing a music video for “Wash” that easily captures the dynamism of their sound. It was shot by Bucky Illingworth, who said he had one phone call with Drew about ideas before meeting them at a show with some cameras, “I always appreciated them being open to me jumping into their life and documenting it.The ‘production’ was always intended to be pretty slice of life; tour documentation, hijinx, and just everyone being friends.”
Fleeting images and short videos loosely tell the story of the night of one of their shows, broken up by seemingly unrelated clips from the beach and a golf range. Accompanied by wild effects and bright colors, the video looks like how the music sounds, conveying a sense of chaos that shouldn’t be feared. Really, Lance Bangs lean into this chaos — disorienting as it may be. The video feels like an acceptance of the unavoidable, unexpected, unnerving bits and pieces of a life moving quickly: an illustration of the confusing understanding of a lack of true control.
Lance Bangs galvanized themselves into something greater through WHAMMY, a powerful post-punk collection of winding, self-aware tracks. It’s nice to sit in chaos sometimes.
STREAM “WHAMMY” AND SUPPORT LANCE BANGS BY LISTENING TO YOUR MUSIC PHYSICALLY!