Album Spotlight: WunderThink - "Winston Smith & The 60 79's"
>>Out of the ashes of the late 1970’s punk rock scene came so many bands, fashions, and feelings, some of which were lucky enough to stand the test of time and end up in the lifestyles of modern day.
Dyed hair, ripped and torn clothing, and a blank attitude towards the future aside, the overdriven volume cranked guitars, distorting and burying themselves in your ear is forever present on Wunderthink’s release Wintson Smith and The 60 79’s. A band that claims has no “real names, real jobs, or real lives” is at once self-aware and self-less, a true identity concealed by the punk moniker and perhaps ever fitting as the nation is hidden behind masks.
The album opens with Teeth, a solid and quick opener that allows you to see the bands simpler side. Straight ahead punk rock driven towards a modern feel. There isn’t much in the track that shouts to the complexities that the nameless guitarist accomplishes later in the album, but there’s a quality to the song that keeps you there. The umami of the track feels like the old school British punk bands of the seventies. Crass mixed with The Jerks if they were transported by time machine DeLorean and brought to record in studio today.
But the band is not so one sided. Each track has an overall punk rock feel but it’s encapsulated in a blues rock/garage rock way that feels natural. The guitar is delicious in several points along the album including riffs in tracks Cash Cow and Late Stage. It’s distorted and dirty and dripping with attitude and there’s no way to look away. It’s an accident along the road surrounded by ambulances and police cars but you look anyway. But this is no accident. They meant to crash all these sounds together and the result is homogenous in the way that rocky road ice cream is; it’s one product but you can see what its made of. You will eat the whole pint.
As the album continues it takes a slight turn at track five in Honey. Less punk rock and more garage. The lead vocalist starts sounding less like Steve Ignorant and more like Caleb Followill, especially in the song Factory. But not Followill today, it’s the Followill we all fell in love with in in 2003. The album swings back with the very next track to a faster more punk rock style reminiscent a la Buzzcocks. There’s some twists and turns in this album that aren’t typical of classic punk rock, but more typical of music today; a gumbo of ingredients from local to exotic, cooked down together but clearly decipherable in some spots.
We may never know who Winston Smith is. Or the true identity of Jonick Ravacleas. Or maybe we will when things open back up and Wunderthink takes the stage. It’s unclear and exciting to think about. But it’s also kind of unnecessary. It’s not just about who is behind the noise, but what is behind it. Many punk rockers of past did not use their real names; Steve Ignorant, Johnny Rotten, Joe Strummer, et al. Wunderthink gets the mind moving and the body in motion, who is actually behind all of it seems to really be in front of it. Listen Now.