One could be forgiven if a resurgence of punk was anticipated about six, seven years ago. The pent-up energy and adverse sentiment were ripe for a wave of new punk rock.
Sadly, the revolution never really came.
But worry not friends, because when it’s not the subject of another episode of Dateline, Idaho has plenty of pent-up chaos and ideas necessary to deliver.
Setting staunch self-awareness at the forefront, the trio of Chris Devino (drums), Dan Kogel (bass), and Nick O’Leary (guitar and vocals) have taken the moniker Balks and wrapped production on their debut record Bad Manners. The Idaho punk trio recorded the album at The Chop Shop in Boise with the express purpose of utilizing old and new recording techniques; drums to tape, mix of vintage and modern amps, and sights focused on capturing their raw sound.
The ten-track debut tightly packs about as much energy you can into each song, with virtually all coming in under three minutes a piece. As they should! The stripped-down approach to recording affords a sense of stumbling across a box of old tapes, popping it into the deck, hitting play and discovering a wave of punk that basks in its own imperfections and amplifies your own sense of the world at the moment. They sought to “create songs that can be there for any listener at any time.” Brilliant throwback track titles aside (looking at you “Kevin You Are What the French Call” and “We Named the Dog Indiana”) Bad Manners shaped tracks around mental health which focus on the self-reflection of poor life choices. From a nod to Ash Williams in “Shop Smart Shop S Mart” to the electric “Hellapath,” in all it’s vintage glory, Balks have crafted a damn fine debut the does, in fact, lend itself to any listener, at any time.
Balks’ Bad Manners has one foot in punk origins (crashing beats, simple chord progressions, and lyrics that are sure to resonate with someone feeling isolated from the world around them) and one foot in the beginnings of something great, sneered attitude and all. It lacks political strife, but reflects inward to avoid becoming compartmentalized. The wherewithal to incorporate old and new pays off for the trio. It may not have come when we expected it, but it’s here when we need it. Check out Balks’ Bad Manners, out March 10, 2023.