A quick blast through ‘Artificial Confidence’, the first track proper on Direct Hit’s new album ‘Wasted Mind’ is enough to form an initial image of what this band is about. They’re a punk band, they’re signed to Fat Wreck – probably another one of the old guard clamouring for relevance in 2016, right? Actually, Direct Hit were only formed in 2007, though the degree to which they’ve nailed their sound on this album is a testament to their skill.
‘Wasted Mind’ is an album that cuts out any fat in favour of sharp, punked-up blasts, and it works exceptionally. ‘Paid In Brains’ sees frontman Nick Woods dealing in fairly vicious screams (a welcome deviation from his Tom Delonge-esque cleans), while the sporadic bursts of saxophone that appear throughout offer some nice body and a richness not often seen in punk albums.
That’s the nice thing about ‘Wasted Mind’ – while it’s unequivocally a punk album, it’s frequently reminiscent of very different styles, keeping it fresh throughout. Take ‘Another Dimension’, which offers a snarling take on The Gaslight Anthem’s rootsy chime, or ‘Promised Land’, whose twinkle is even reminiscent of ‘Pretty. Odd.’-era Panic! At The Disco.
It all comes together to make ‘Wasted Mind’ a truly remarkable achievement. Where the idea of punk in 2016 is something so watered down it’s pop-rock with a cooler name, Direct Hit may have galvanised a genre in a way that keeps its roots on show but manages to inject in some fresh life. And if any of that sounds even the tiniest bit appealing, consider ‘Wasted Mind’ essential listening.
‘Wasted Mind’ by Direct Hit is released on 24th June on Fat Wreck Chords
Words by Luke Nuttall(@nuttall_luke)