Culture Shock Treatment

Round Eye

Sudden Death Records, 2021

http://roundeyeband.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/13/2021

An exciting outfit of Shanghai punks, Round Eye hovers somewhere between retro R&B, free jazz exploration, and old school punk rock, and it's all executed with a very unpredictable and often bristling performance that's artistic, abrasive, and yet still very tuneful.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The title track gets the album off to a blistering start of initially very ominous thundering before getting bouncy, even danceable, in a some sort of bizarre version of ska-punk. “Smokestack” then follows with howling vocals amid a rhythmic and jagged display of rugged and yelping jazz punk.

An impressive start leads into the chunky bass lines and charged “The Foreigner,” while the raw and punchy “Armadillo Man” might leave it unclear if you should get your dancing shoes ready or seek out the nearest pit to dive into. “Red Crimes” then gets into calmer areas where a soulfulness enters the key-friendly, R&B delivery.

Further yet, “An Opportunity Of A Lifetime” squeals and throbs with both adventurousness and cautiousness as a thick guitar presence meets spirited brass. “Uomo Moderno” resides in an even quirkier space that sometimes sounds like it should soundtrack a spy movie but also takes nods to the early days of punk. “Endless Sleep” finishes the listen with a thick presence of grungy guitar that burn slow alongside expressive singing that might make you want to dig out your Melvins records.

There's an all-star cast behind the scenes of Culture Shock Treatment that includes Minutement's Mike Watt (production), Black Flag's Bill Stevenson (mixing), and D.O.A.'s Joey Shithead (put the album out). Sure, those names definitely only add to the greatness of the listen, but ultimately Round Eye is putting a fresh coat of paint over the time honored tradition of punk, and they're bringing along some unconventional ideas, which we're all better off for.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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