Thursday, September 02, 2021

Angry Joe And The Holy Socks Pay Homage to he 90’s on Solid Debut Album

Angry Joe and the Holy Socks are a no-nonsense duo based in Houston, Texas. On their full-length debut, the intriguing ‘Kicking Rocks’, we hear a band unafraid of the past that has inspired them.  

Written by the self-dubbed ‘Angry Joe’, who takes on lead guitar and vocal duties, during the Covid Pandemic, the album straddles themes of heartbreak and loneliness, whilst always maintaining a ray of joy in what is otherwise often heavy subject matters. 

Joined by Charli on drums and strings, the duo have made a commendable effort on their debut album. 

Opener ‘Molly Tried to Ruin my Life’ is the story of a stalker who can’t let her ex-lover go. Its pounding drums and driving guitar perfectly encapsulate the 90’s American pop punk fused with alternative British guitar music that fast becomes a staple of the group's sound. The playful lyrics are a standout as Joe confusingly berates that Molly “Stole my phone, called my friends / What’s going on?”. 

Follow up track ‘While It Lasted’ is both musically and lyrically similar to the opener as it details the ending of a relationship, but with a face-melting snarling blues solo that allows some much-needed urgency to creep into the album. 

Acoustic guitars in the same driving pattern kick-off ‘So Far’ yet its more sincere questions are of great contrast to the playful stories of the first two songs. “And I can’t even fake it / I try and I try so hard” bemoans Joe, in a haunting and heartfelt manner that hints at a direction the band should explore more, whilst the introduction of Charli on strings adds a real depth to what is one of the most intriguing tracks on the album, both sonically and lyrically. 

‘All the time’ is the pinnacle of 90’s inspired songs on the album, as it reminds you of Oasis covering ‘Knocking on heaven’s door’. Interlaced with shining guitar lines and the husk vocal performance of Joe, it does the vintage sound brilliantly, whilst once again the lyrics come from a more earnest place as the singer asks, “Whatever happened to my world / The one with you girl?”. 

The subject of earnestness and longing continue on the cliché driven ‘If I fall’. Yet it’s the midpoint of the album that we finally get a substantial change in sound as the duo home in on a moodier vibe on the brilliant ‘Mary Does’. The gusto in the distorted guitars and wailing solos create an urgency that was lacking in the opening half of ‘Kicking Rocks’ and creates a brilliant contrast to the album's earlier output. 

However, that urgency soon dissipates on the pop sound of ‘Half Way’ as Angry Joe and the Holy Socks finds comfort in the 90’s inspired soft rock that has become their staple. Whilst ‘Undo’, which has the same acoustic pop sound, features menacing and clever lines which act as a superb point of difference as Joe once again playfully details the end of a relationship. “Wrap my wrists up with duct tape and make sure I won’t escape” he sings, as he comprehends the trapped nature of the final days of a failing relationship.  

‘Take off’ see’s the pair continue in their comfort zone of soft rock, whilst acknowledging the band's tight musicianship. 

The penultimate track of the album, the superb ‘My Day’, sees the duo once again capture the anger and energy that has lacked from much of the LP. The distorted guitars, minor chords, and simplicity of the lyrics are brilliant, and some of the best examples of modern rock found this year. The witty lyricism of Joe is present in droves as he talks of holes in socks and leaving doors unlocked to bemoan the fact that “It’s not my day”. The song builds into a wailing climax of heavy guitars, pounding drums, and passionate vocals, making it easily one of the most complete tracks on the album. 

Closer ‘D.C. AI Fine’ continues the band's newfound heavy theme of anger and simplicity. The punk mantra of the song, as Joe demands “Hey you! Don’t tell me what to do!” is of stark contrast to the albums often witty and clever lyrics, yet the simplicity of the number, compounded by it’s fast tempo and ferocious sound, create another peak for the album. 

On their first full-length LP, Angry Joe and the Holy Socks have mainly stuck to paying homage to the bands that inspired them. As stated in an interview with The Sound Won’t Stop, the duo are enamored by The Beatles, Oasis, and Hall and Oates, and much of ‘Kicking Rocks’ pays respect to that sound with upbeat acoustic pop numbers. However, the band is at their best when they let the shackles go and find the inner anger that makes songs such as ‘Mary Does’ and ‘My Day’ the real standouts. 

‘Kicking Rocks’ is a solid start with some brilliant pop and rock songs intertwined with some boisterous animals of tracks, I just hope they continue to grow and let their wild side show more often on future ventures. 

James Ogden 

Image – Kicking Rocks Official Album Artwork 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment Here;