Ship Thieves


Written by: PP on 16/03/2021 17:41:01

"Irruption" is the fourth album by the Midwestern punk supergroup Ship Thieves, which features Hot Water Music's Chris Wollard and Samiam's Chad Darby, their first in five years since the release of third album "No Anchor". Much like its predecessor, we're knee-deep in Midwestern punk, specifically in "Caution"-era Hot Water Music universe, which underscores the quality of riff on offer here: dense walls of layered guitars that range from intricate licks to open chords, together unleashing a solid, treble-charged soundscape filled to the brim with melodic ring and roared, gravelly vocals. We're talking wooah-ooahs, hook-laden choruses, and an overall rough-around-the-edges production leaving behind a wonderfully raw expression oozing of urgency.

What's different from "No Anchor" is that it all sounds more solidified. The songwriting is more anthemic while simultaneously avoiding unnecessary inflation of soundscape or other theatrics, keeping the record firmly grounded in the punk rock realm. The amount of sheer bangers here is incredible: "The Embers Of Enlightenment" and "Race To Oblivion" kick things off with gravelly, high-tempo Midwestern punk by the book exactly as we like it, while the likes of "Ghost Town" and especially "Tangled Net" bring about a rollicking, rowdy expression with an aggressive undertone that morphs back into, yeah you guessed it, "Caution"-era clean sing-alongs.

Ship Thieves offer a few different looks as well this time around. "Hercules Stomp", for instance, is lighter on Midwestern roar and more akin to the driving Americana rock that we saw on The Flatliners' latest album. It's infectiously catchy and more pop-laden than the rest, but the contrast gives the record variety. Likewise, "Virulent Man" is more of a melodic gang-shout anthem, distancing further from "Caution"-style, yet it works equally great as classic Wollard tracks like "(I Don't Wanna) Face The Dog".

These are in the minority though, as the record focuses on delivering similar throaty anthems to HWM records while being just different enough to matter. And besides, when the songs are this good, does it really matter they sound like HWM minus Chuck Ragan? I don't think so. All four tracks are fantastic, back-chilling Midwestern punk that will be well received by the community. "Irruption" is thus far the best record out of the four released by Ship Thieves, and likely to land near the top spots at this year's best-of lists when it comes to punk rock.

Download: Virulent Man, Ghost Town, Tangled Net, Hercules Stomp, The Embers Of Enlightenment
For the fans of: Hot Water Music, The Draft, Make Do And Mend, Small Brown Bike, Jawbreaker, Samiam
Listen: Facebook

Release date 12.03.2021
Chunksaah Records

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