REVIEW - More Kicks - 'Punch Drunk' (Album - Dirtnap Records / Stardumb Records)
Power-pop, garage rock, indie pop and punky, alternative rock all find a place on the fabulous sophamore album 'Punch Drunk' from London based More Kicks - a vibrant, joyous, noisy affirmation of the pleasures of guitar-led pop music. Bursting onto the London garage rock scene in 2017, More Kicks released their debut self-titled album in November 2019 and things were going swimmingly when - well, we all know what happened in early 2020! However, from the isolation and desperation of the pandemic, More Kicks lead man James 'Sulli' Sullivan fashioned two brilliant releases; first a solo album 'Light Years', and now 'Punch Drunk', an album more expansive and varied than the debut. Great songwriting, chunky, fuzzy guitar, strident rhythmic fills and hooks (provided by Paolo Mantovani - Bass / BVs and Kris Hood - Drums), Supergrass-a-like harmony vocals, and tunes, tunes and more tunes abound on this superlative record.
Opener 'Hurts Like Hell' has a quick acapella vocal intro before coming in with a nagging, insistent guitar riff with Buzzcocks and Nada Surf influences to the fore and a spoken word interlude in amongst the guitars. The pace doesn't let-up with following track 'In Love' - a driving, scuzzy, 'race you to the end' number that still possesses the requisite melody required of all the songs here. Single 'Animal' has a touch of Wire, a touch of Buzzcocks and, yes, a touch of 'My Sharona' in its spiky guitar stylings, while 'Terminal Love' and 'Come Home' are Brit-Pop humdingers with the joy and exuberance (musically, if not lyrically) of that era's best tunes. Harder-edged guitars can be found on 'Good Enough' and 'Seven Ways' (a little Senseless Things, a little Mega City 4) with the latter finding time for a bit of a piano stomp towards the end before revving up to a glorious, barnstorming finish while 'Colour Me Stupefied' and 'Rest Of Our Lives' bring to mind Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle and Moon (with authentic 60s organ sounds on the latter). Slow tunes? More Kicks can do these too - the sweet, keyboard led 'Got Lucky' and the short, yet effective 'Phoney Middle Aged Art' (with James solo on guitar and vocals) show they can take things down a notch and the slow-burning closer 'Goodnight Goodnight' is melancholic but uplifting all at the same time and brings the album to a satisfying (very) conclusion.
'Punch Drunk' is a tremendous album with more tunes than you can shake a stick at and once you've put it on your stereo, you'll find it hard to take-off. Despite the circumstances it was written in, the album has an exuberance to it that is hard to resist and shows More Kicks in fiery, resolute, ebullient form. 'Punch Drunk'; this album should leave you that way, but in the best way possible!!
'Punch Drunk' is available on all the major digital sites. Black vinyl and CD versions are available from the More Kicks bandcamp page - www.morekicks.bandcamp.com and vinyl versions are also available from the Dirtnap / Green Noise Records (www.store.greennoiserecords.com) and Stardumb Records (www.stardumbrecords.com) websites.