Album Review: Reaction – “Keep It Weird, Keep It Wired”
Hailing from the same Scottish punk scene as the late lamented Heavy Drapes, Reaction are another band with a much-welcomed sense of the smarts about them. Until a few years ago, it seemed that punk in this country had wandered into an admittedly very comfortable cul-de-sac where a few lightning speed Exploited riffs and some shouted vocals were all that you needed to sort you out. Repeat times ten and Jimmy Pursey’s yer uncle, the album’s ready to go.
In recent years though, a new slew of bands have come along and made admirable attempts to expand the horizons, realising that the movement is likely to, if not die, then fall into obsolescence if it doesn’t evolve. Similar to the likes of Dragster and the aforementioned Heavy Drapes, Reaction are another such band. Yes, is most assuredly a punk album, but it’s definitely a bit smarter than yer average, with opener Welcome To Rust Town, a look at the smalltown hell of growing up in an area like Airdrie where Reaction hail from, set to an almost country style musical backing with Mariachi trumpets and twanging guitars.
This is the key to what makes this such a good album – while Reaction can undoubtedly turn up the aggro to good effect when they want to as evidenced on the likes of Dumb Dumb Dumb and Been There Done That, there’s way more to them than standard three chord thrash, from the subtle guitar work on Stars So Far through the almost garage rock indebted You Love The High Life and the impressive Sympathy For The Devil style shuffle of Saints of Tamla Hill. Me And Valerie Solanos is their self-proclaimed “Scum Manifesto” with a list of those who’ve inspired them on their way, while the piano on closer Days Of El Dorado gives it an almost post-punk kind of feel before it picks up the pace again to sign the album off in style.
It's good to see punk bands railing against the straitjacket of simplicity (after all, wasn't the whole point of the movement to question everything?) and Reaction have most definitely marked themselves out as one of the movement's bright hopes heading into 2019 with Keep It Weird Keep It Wired. Well worth your time and effort I'd say.