Armed with a love of Rocket From The Crypt and (the) Misfits, Peterborough punk ‘n’ rollers The Moonshiners are set to slap you in the jaw with a potent, riff-heavy sound on their untitled 2017 EP . Their self-financed release serves up half an album’s worth of raw and dirty noise and couples the best riffs with a few top-notch hooks, which results in an unmissable listen for fans of the style.
With a crashing chord by way of an intro, ‘Days Like This’ quickly descends into a full throttle workout that sounds like a rock ‘n’ roll infused take on early Misfits – a style that brings an instant energy and gutsiness to the fore. The riffs are king, bolstered by some great drums and everything combined invites a bounciness that’s hard to beat. It’s the vocal that leaves the strongest impression, however…and rather than going with the most typical punk ‘n’ roll shoutiness, frontman Kristian favours a Danzig inspired croon. The marriage of the two different styles creates something distinctive and very likeable. The riffs and vocals set a precedent, but by the time the guitar solo is reached, the band up the musical stakes. Here, the rawness in their sound dictates a great, careening style, with a bigger focus on keeping up the momentum than ensuring there’s any slickness. Overall. it’s a great opener.
Moving straight into ‘I’m Going Home’, the previous speed is tempered by a horror-punk swagger. The riffs may be slower, slightly heavier and defiantly darker, but the voice adopts an even deeper croon to suit and everything works very nicely. While this is good, it’s the way drummer Dario approaches his kit that makes the track; he really dictates the amount of oomph within this longer workout. Eventually, somewhere amid the world of riffs, a very retro guitar break emerges, tipping the hat – in The Moonshiners’ somewhat unfussy style – to Brian Setzer and Chris Isaak. In some ways, this track may seem overtly simple, but that’s partly what makes it so cool. Stoking up the rock ‘n’ roll, the band’s de-facto title track harks back to early 80s rockabilly and peps that with a super-cool punk rock crunch, which naturally fits the talents of all concerned. There’s a tough riff jostling with a killer bass line for attention, while the gruff and crooning voices really sound like they mean business. If you’re hearing this EP for the first time, you should waste no time in making a beeline for this number – it’s genuinely great.
‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Beast’ essentially brings more of the same, albeit not quite as polished and with a bigger focus on gang vocals. It is a number that’s still sharp and shows off the band’s chosen style well, but certainly plays second fiddle to ‘Moonshine’ (somewhat understandably) before ‘Still Young’ ushers in a fabulous punk bass line and a general raucousness that brings to mind an unholy hybrid of Misfits and early TSol with a more modern production style. It mightn’t have the instantly gratifying hook present on a couple of other tracks, but musically – especially taking that bassline into consideration, as well as the general ferocity – it’s bang on. If you’re not convinced that The Moonshiners are a very promising band by this point, you never will be… Last up, ‘Your Mojo’ is a blistering rocker that clocks in at just over two minutes and throws out Misfits influences by the dozen, while simultaneously cranking up the punky edges with a fuzzy hardcore bassline and screaming solos. So much packed within a short duration – it’s a top way to finish and probably gives a reasonable insight into the energy of the band’s live performances.
This EP is fast and dirty, tough and mean. Above all, though, it’s also a lot of fun. It’s worth hearing for ‘Moonshine’ and ‘Your Mojo’ alone, but there are no weak links. In just six tracks and displaying a hard and grubby style, The Moonshiners show a love for punk ‘n’ roll that’s barely been heard with such vigour since The Computers released ‘This Is…‘ some five years earlier. Highly recommended.