White Fang – Steady Truckin’ For Summer (Gnar Tapes/Burger Records)
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Celebrate summer with White Fang’s latest album of laid back and sludgy garage pop perfection.

It’s not the first time I’ve written about White Fang and Gnar Tapes, and I’m sure it won’t be the last!

Imagine if The Beatles were those guys you invited over to crash at your place after a controlled substances snack-binge and stupid movies all-nighter.
You give Paul McCartney (Rikky) a bucket in case he needs to throw up and doesn’t feel he has enough confidence to make it into your bathroom on time. Meanwhile George Harrison (Unkle Funkle) is passed out on the floor with sharpie drawings of dicks all over his forehead. Kyle is Yoko Ono, suggestively slurping a popsicle stick on your sofa (not saying he’ll break the band up or anything, he just makes a good looking woman). Jimmy could never be as grouchy as Ringo, but for a moment, picture Ringo with an affinity for drunken piggy back rides and wigging out with a paper bag over his head during live performances.

Simply put, the White Fang boys have the canny songwriting instincts of bands that have achieved legendary status and a permanent place in pop culture history, but they are all the better for perhaps not being aware of or greatly concerned at all about this.

Steady Truckin’ For Summer begins with the gallantly distorted guitar shred of “Wanna Ride?”, where the listener is invited on a mind expanding odyssey of empowerment and enlightenment. If you’re a fan, you may recall these same intentions decreed earlier on in “Far Out Journey” from their High Expectations EP. “Do you want a ride to the other side? / Choice is yours / up to you, decide…”, Rikky sings in his eternally chilled way. You would be a fool to opt out of the experience, but you know, whenever you’re ready, no pressure or anything…

It is the perfect opening salvo for the album – a monstrous and riff-heavy rising storm of a track, and it’s harmonised, singing guitar solo goes a long way towards establishing the 8 commandments of party which are to come (and would be sure to keep Bill and Ted happy, too).

“Bad Boys” is a down and dirty little ditty of contagious fun accompanied by a hilarious video which further reinforces the good time party ethos of the record. “You know we’re not going to sleep / the weekend lasts 7 days a week”.

 

The fuzzy, self-referential synth dominated track “Loud Ones” follows (“When we roll in, they all know that we’re the loud ones”), and its vintage spacey sound has a definite murky charm.

“Great Weekend” offers great chiming guitars and lumbering, caveman-like chunky riffs, and the song gives me the same feeling I have watching the ending of Dazed and Confused, when the gang smokes pot on the 50 yard line as the sun comes up.

The hazy, swirling guitar effects on “Go See California” is the sonic equivalent of watching the floating wax in a lava lamp under the influence of an acid trip.

“I Want a Party” is one of the highlights of Steady Truckin’ for me, a jangly pop song of tremendous sensitivity with lovely vocal layering which could be a Memories album outtake. It just seems to bare some of the heart of the band more than the other sillier album tracks, although it is still about partying and being in search of the next high. I could overanalyse and interpret this as a profound and moving statement about life (which it somehow is!), but that would be missing the point of White Fang.

The life-affirming and free-spirited “FTW” (stands for “fuck the world”, by the way) builds on a classic rock riff and explodes into a brief, beautiful orgy of noise before the measured strums and synth pulse of “Tomorrow” winds the album down like a reflective road trip tour diary.

The songs on Steady Truckin’ For Summer are linked by the common theme of parties, thrill seeking and good times, but also the very personal journey of self discovery (whether or not shrooms are involved in the process).
Although still wonderfully juvenile and with a spontaneous, youthful energy to their performances, you would be mistaken if you thought White Fang were never capable of growing up or learning anything (but hopefully that won’t stop them making fart noises while trying to milk themselves when they’re halfway through a bottle of Jim Beam).

White Fang / Gnar Tapes is the sort of discovery you make lifelong friendships over, the kind of friendships where you decide to get matching tattoos together (it has happened, last month Rikky gave out free Gnar tattoos at the Burger Records store)!
Not only do I want White Fang’s music in near constant rotation, I wanna hang out with these guys.

White Fang can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

All words by Carrie Quartly, you can read more of her writing on the site here.

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