Let’s be honest here: I’m probably not the kind of person that this record is aimed at. My tastes in hardcore and punk have, if anything, gotten even heavier and more negative over time. I have a denim jacket with a Minor Threat backpatch. I’ve only been drunk once in the last five or so years, and that was at a good friend’s wedding. So, an EP filled with melodic, sing-along punk filled with references to excessive drinking? Not the kind of thing I’d normally go for. Sure, I may enjoy something with more melody than normal now that it’s summer, but when it comes to punk, I’m still more likely to be listening to something political or negative than anything else (and most likely released in the 80s, too – or sounding like it wishes it was). But I’ll be damned if The Burnt Tapes haven’t released something in Wasted History that even someone like me can’t help but enjoy it.
Right from the off there’s a summery, fun-time vibe, with infectious melodies and vocals that are more than a touch rough around the edges, but suit the music perfectly. There’s a general rawness and lack of polish that only adds to the energy, and that the EP was recorded above an abandoned pub makes perfect sense. Even as songs like “From My Gut, To Your Face” (a definite highlight) sing their tales of missed opportunities and damaged livers, the sense of fun and energy grows and grows, with plenty of well-placed woah’s and melodic guitar leads practically compelling the listener to sing along, even if they don’t know the words yet. “Hang Your Friends” is another favourite, darkly sarcastic and biting, slightly slower than other tracks but still filled with energy and a great chorus. Closer “Tiny Battles” may be the best of the bunch though, with a strong pre-chorus build-up and another infectious chorus, as well as some good changes in tempo and emphasis demonstrating their song-writing skills.
What really helps make Wasted History so compelling, though, is the way that these songs feel lived-in, with a sense of honesty and autobiographical nature that lends lyrics like “Do you wanna drink with me tonight/I’ll be alone” extra weight. The constant alcohol references don’t feel as if they’re being lazy in their writing – or worse, trying to impress by saying “look how much I drink” – but as integral a part of their sound as writing about not drinking is to straight-edge bands (and without the sense of self-righteousness, thank goodness) And even if that weren’t the case, the music on the EP is commendable in itself. Up-tempo, melodic, and striking just the right balance between raw enthusiasm and talent, there’s plenty to enjoy about it. It’s catchy, it’s fun, and if it gets someone like me nodding along, then kids who are more usually in to this kind of thing will probably lap it up. I imagine the band are a hell of a lot of fun live, too.
Wasted History can be downloaded and streamed for free via Bandcamp.