IF ANDREW WK is America's party-time, NASCAR-watching, Kit Kat-munching, white knight superhero, New York's Mommy and Daddy is his nasty hipster shadow. Where WK's jock jams are positive and preaching and fulla we-can-make-it-if-we-try! sloganeering, these kids go dark—vocals shout and cheerlead totally WK-ish, but they're pinched, squawking, like birds battling in midair, or bats eking outta the mouth of a jagged, fanged cave.
Edmond Hallas and the Vietnam-born Vivian Sarratt trade off being the crazy, pogoing, Iggy Popping bassist, and the crazy, pogoing, Iggy Popping singer/drum machinist. It's a lean sound, more robot industrial noise than anything organic. The bass rips and squeals like an '80s synth's "Electric Rock Guitar" setting; the drums bap, cackle, and bop. But break it down, take away the "I Wanna Be Your Dog"gy attitude and indie-ish production, and it's jock jams. The catchiness, the drill sergeant barks, and the choruses-as-fight-chants—it's all there, just one C&C Music Factory cameo away from signing to Tommy Boy Records. (The fact that half the songs sound like malformed, slightly retarded versions of "Pump Up the Jam" may be a coincidence, or a happy accident, but it's almost inarguably close.)
The band's new Kanine Records release, Duel at Dawn, is a punk rock record right down the pike. It's an unabashed punk record too, never apologetic for being surly and difficult, never coming close to irony or disclaiming anything.
Live, it's more of the same: herking spurts of outsider fury, weirdo wild-eyed dance moves, Sarratt and Hallas trading roles song to song, with a forever WK-ian catchiness riding through like a golden, glowing chariot of commerciality. This is a great punk band. Great punk bands are rare. You should check this one out. Chicagoan "sex rockers" Bang! Bang! open the show.