Bare Wires, Cheap Perfume [Southpaw]
Bare Wires shall bend to no one’s will. Cheap Perfume, the band’s third release, though only their second with drummer Nathan Price, holds one clear promise: this trio will never change. Less the cries of a tantrum than the easy wisdom of Bare Wire’s cemented confidence, these California-meets-The Ramones-meets-Love garage punks balance out their stay-true lullabies with tales of travel and funky females.
“Don’t Ever Change, ” a quiet-kid-in-the-back theme track, kicks off the Oakland retro rockers’ latest record. “Don’t Ever Change” chugs along with a beat reminiscent of The Monks’ “I Hate You,” albeit with a far friendlier message. “Back on the Road” builds up a relentless crescendo unseen since the take-no prisoners ear assault of Love’s “7 and 7 Is,” but ultimately breaks off into a sweet chorus that embodies the release of driving away.
The album’s title track, “Cheap Perfume,” finds lead singer/songwriter Matthew Melton echoing Marc Bolan’s theatrical yet oddly raw vocals in a tension-filled tune that’s as sexy as it is unpredictable. Melton sounds more like a punk rock, slightly 80s Elvis (a style that should be its own genre by now) on “Television Girls,” stumbling through vocal bubbles and stutters with an unmistakable strut.
It’s that effortless, self-assured attitude that makes Cheap Perfume sound like something from yester-year, a confidence rarely found in rock’s wallflowers these days. Bare Wires have made a true rock record that may not be revolutionary but certainly stands out, shoulders to the sky.
Stay gold, Bare Wires. Stay gold.