When I’m looking for power pop or power rock, I want to see something big right out of the gate and I wish I could say that Seattle’s In Cahoots comes out swinging in Panic Attacks but that would be a rather large understatement. Their powerful presence in their latest release strikes like steel-toed boot wrapped in barbwire, shredding the weak and devouring pretense.
Clay: You should always finish your sentences, it’s just polite. I agree with you that this album knows how to make an entrance with one of my favorite life lessons: never meet your idols. But if I can take a second to focus on a word you used, swinging, I think it works as a double entendre here. And I don’t mean that this album works as a soundtrack for Swingers 2.
The album’s pace and aggressiveness swings like a pendulum between each track: rock-riff and guitar-lick heavy “Idols” gives way to laid back strumming of “Holding You Back” and then bounces back with the almost pop-punk-plus-facemelting-guitar-solo (courtesy of Brad Judy) of “Sweet Tooth” and so on. It is a rapid-fire, mood-altering journey over 12 tracks, but ultimately what I have come to expect from In Cahoots: a clinic on how to rock, and some great pot-shots at music culture at large with “Idols” and “Rock and Roll Uniform.”
“Maybe I’m just too plain.” No, Christina Cramer, no you are not. Not with that vocal range and authority. That is a Rock and Roll voice.
Greg: This album is so money it doesn’t even know it!
As a whole, it really is a great collective power culminating fierce instrumental rock with a captivating vocal up front. It is like a mosh pit where everyone is going full blast then becomes hypnotized by a siren of punk. I think this comes out best in “Hollywood,” a track that contains an identifiable sound as well as an overwhelming sense of great punk, yet starts out like it could easily be on a long lost Green Day record. The recording itself even does classic punk justice. Retro yet fresh, In Cahoots has me hooked as hell.
Clay: Rich Huston definitely starts the track with a Mike Dirnt bass-pick ditty, but fortunately Dave Crossett is a more dialed-back, and technical drummer than Tre Cool; the comparisons end there for me. The three-chord progressions are more “Blitzkrieg Bop” than “American Idiot” and I am in love with the term “psychic landmines,” but you are right: like the back and forth of tempo and melody, there is a come and go of classic rock to contemporary pop punk. It is a shift from their previous work, but when the album closes on “Priceless,” you know this is rock to its core; the kind that you know is solid “hey, everyone, go listen to this” but you can’t put your finger on exactly what it is about it. It just is – it is an existential being: like Uatu the Watcher, or the Road Runner.
Panic Attacks is out August 12th, go listen now for the hard-hitting rock, stay for the existentialism.
Clay and Greg co-founded Nanobot and have a love for pure rock, Marvel comics and old Warner Brothers cartoons.