Punk rock, once a monolithic movement against mainstream music in the 1970s, now has more schisms than the Christian faith. It now appears with Direct Hit! entering the landscape, there is now another sub-genre: nerd punk. Their debut LP, Domesplitter, is a collection of songs from previously released 4 track EPs. This may not seem out of the ordinary, except for the process the punk trio took. The five EPs were released like comic books which guitarist and singer Nick Woods said he is a big fan of and was interested in the way that comics broke their stories apart issue by issue. “I thought it’d be cool to try releasing music the same way,” Woods says.
Those 5 EPs were then bundled up, looked at again and fans were asked to vote on what ten tracks they would like in a full-length album. Those songs were then re-recorded for Domesplitter and the comparisons to comics continue as the LP is likened to a hardcover comic book compilation; re-imagined for old and new fans alike.
The nerdisms don’t stop there. There are songs about zombies, spaceships, wizards, and everyone’s favorite Lovecraftian creature: Cthulu. These themes are wrapped up nicely in high-energy pop punk, reinvigorating a medium that has seen more “oh, love” than “Oi!” in the past ten years.
Direct Hit!’s signature style of mixing melody, group chants and pop punk keep the entire album fun and frenetic. The opening track, “Snickers Or Reese’s (Pick Up the Pieces),” opens with the band’s tongue-in-cheek signature chant, “Fuck You, Get Pumped.” From there, Woods screams out vocals for the next 27 minutes and plays driving power three-chord progressions. He is backed by drummer Danny Walkowiak and bassist Robbie Schroeder who attack each song with more enthusiasm than angst and provide backup vocals throughout the album. Every part of their style is exemplified in their first single, “Monster In the Closet.”
Many songs have a similar sound, which punk is known for. Domesplitter offers a couple of change-ups like Kingdom Come and Boredom Addict, but for the most part each song has fast-paced chords; frantic drumming; shouted vocals and rallying chants which make each song an anthem. By the time the record is over, I cannot believe how quickly it passed but I feel energized by their music and am ready to move on to something new. It is a punk sorbet for your musical palette, and a great way to usher in nerd punk.
Grab your hardcover collector’s issue of Direct Hit!’s Domesplitter on August 2nd from Kind of Like Records.