Adult Books

Sometimes it seems like Lolipop Records and Burger Records are collectively hell bent on taking over the scene. It seems like their respective releases keep popping up on podcasts or the “hey check this out” suggestions friends send me in links. You include Adult Books, a band whose name proudly bears a seal from legendary punk band X, into that equation, and the formula basically writes itself. The band has kicked around some EPs over the years, and what transpires on their debut full-length Running from the Blows is a nice mix of the sounds they’ve been honing for a few years now.

A cloud of surf goth seems to hover over the album. Nick Winfrey’s vocals carry a brooding presence throughout – there’s fluctuation, but there’s also a calculated nature to the delivery. The unaffected coolness makes itself present on “Casual Wrecks” as the music seems to be in much more of a hurry than the voice – a very nice counterbalance for sure. Even on the classic postpunk storytelling of “I Don’t Think I Can Stay” (and its kind of creepy plot) there’s an infectious catchiness.

Usually with the garage rock sound, which we love, there tends to be a lack of risk taking. But Adult Books aren’t having that. If they want to showcase Daniel Quintanilla’s bass – which is featured maybe most prominently on “Silverlake Goths” and “Lobby Talks” – they’re going to do just that. The latter track also has some of M. M. Sina’s best drum work, and it’s maybe the highlight track of an album packed with haymakers. They’ll go snappy, peppy, and all that jazz, they’ll deliver huge power chords that will punch you in the face with full blown muscle, and they’ll do it while everything fits together seamlessly.

Where the album really seems to shine is the battle between a chilly, electronic breeze of certain tracks and a shimmering sun that shines for days. “Firewalking” is a perfect example of the former as the narrative steers towards feeling continuously alienated, even when you’re not alone. But a track like “Hours on Hand” is soaked in nostalgia across the horizon. And these two worlds seem to collide on “Nihilism for Beginners,” a track that has a very bright side and even some synth, but it there’s a twinge of moodiness that captures that one chance on one specific night that we all know.

And when things close up on Running from the Blows, “Vision Revisions” definitely feels like the “one last song” song. Thoughts that have escaped, words that should have never been uttered, and the regret/desire to have them back all take hold. And a solar eclipse covers the song as the band plays itself out the door.

The album is out tomorrow from Lolipop Records/Burger Records. You should pre-order it now – get it here. Joey Smith