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Album Debut: Drunk Dad – Ripper Killer

Portland’s Drunk Dad revive two overworked genre tags. Ripper Killer, their newest on Eolian Empire, is like a triple word score for ‘noise rock’ and ‘grunge.’ Where other wearers of those styles are content to do a community theater approximation of danger, Drunk Dad go right for the jugular. Opener “Five Pack” riffs like Poison Idea outfitted with the engine from an 18-wheeler. Singer/guitarist Dane Herrin yells as if he’s trying to short out his mic with bloody phlegm. Fellow guitarist Jose De Lara builds feedback gales that whistle with Greg Ginn gusts. Bassist Anthony Ritchey and drummer Joseph Naylor unrelentingly bludgeon rhythms with the tenacity of slasher flick baddies. “Five Pack” is in-and-out in under two minutes. ‘Noise rock’ and ‘grunge’ can’t even approximate the rush. That’s probably why Drunk Dad decided on “fuck-you-all-wave.” Fair enough.

Despite the hate ’em all description, there are bands Drunk Dad hold dear. The nosiest and the most abrasive of the Northwest seep into their sound. “Fuck in Garbage” squirms like the Melvins and has a Flipper-y antagonism. The title track is Nirvana augmented by old Dwarves and might be one of the few songs created in his spirit that Cobain would’ve enjoyed. But Drunk Dad are their own thing, far more electric than imitators could ever hope to be. Sometimes that electricity manifests itself in the music: “Light a Fire” takes on Old Sparky as a second percussionist, the noise track “Worthless” could be a crowded aquarium of eels. To use an old standby, Ripper Killer has a spark. Luckily for long-suffering fans of the aforementioned genres, it’s powering a defibrillator in Drunk Dad’s hands.

Drunk Dad’s Ripper Killer is out July 1 via Eolian Empire. You can preorder the album now.

— Ian Chainey

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