Local Music Reviews
WEY = (X – rockabilly) + Pong
Poultice Route is a groovy, noise-rock, punk record featuring chunky rhythms and occasionally discordant melodies that still manage to be catchy. It’s off-kilter and peculiar, but never outright strange, unapproachable or alienating. The tones (especially on the guitar) are well-chosen, straying from just reusing the same distorted sounds that might grow stale on another punk release. The vocals are generally masculine, but female vocals appear on tracks like “Deseret State,” “Sunday Drive” and “Finding Lucille,” working terrifically alongside the male vocals and adding a dash of rockabilly to the equation.
The playing is tight, and while the musicians of WEY are very talented, they never vie for anything too ostentatious, instead keeping the composition to what is necessary. It’s lively, vivacious and funky stuff, playing in the measured, tight signature of dance music.
The punky danceability is not entirely unlike Wire, but Poultice Route operates more broadly in various flavors of rock. Their track “Bus Stop Boys” is a blues-rock send-up that smacks of Steely Dan, with deceptively transgressive lyrics and odd melodies that go beyond the usual 12-bar snoozefest.
Songs like “Sinner’s Requiem” have a blatant, classic rock tinge to them, with wry humor à la Warren Zevon—I particularly like the line “Doctor says I’m gonna die real soon.” Meanwhile, “This American In Me” is more of a straight-punk cut, a sneering and ornery critique of the American way. If you tune into the lyrics, WEY even posits a guess at who was behind the JFK assassination.
Throughout the album, the lyrics take peculiar turns to hide their meaning. At first glance, “Just Out of Range” seems like an anti-gun song, but the words are occasionally obscured so as to make the song implacable. This works to the album’s advantage—punk is a genre saturated with heavy-handed cultural critique, and it’s refreshing to hear a song that requires a bit of picking apart.
“Strange Attractor” expands the sonic palate by introducing a very warm, pleasant melodica. It’s amazing what the addition does to the song, making the band sound much spacier and larger-than-life. The lyrics are particularly baffling, reading more like a list of objects and ideas than a conventional narrative.
Ultimately, Poultice Route is a solid, fun listen. It’s punk-ish without finding itself beholden to the tired conventions of the genre, and WEY sounds liberated and joyous about it. Find “Sinner’s Requiem” on Bandcamp, purchase the full album in SLC record stores and come to WEY’s official album release show at Aces High Saloon on Saturday, October 27. –Tín Rodriguez
Read more recent coverage of rockabilly-adjacent music:
Local Review: Lean Canteen – It Don’t Matter
Music on the Mountain: Second Annual Park City Song Summit