The ultimate fraught of stereotypes isn’t how often inaccurate they are, but how quickly we instinctively launch to them. Think of a place like Scotland, long typecasted for forever rains, beautiful hillsides, and rocky coasts. And while the travel brochure for Scotland kindly reinforces that, it doesn’t do service to what wholly unsuspecting things come from it.
Then again, after listening to Deathcats’ Raddest EP (Fuzzkill Records), there might not be too much fault thinking that the garage punk group just sprung out of Berkeley, California. Everything about Raddest–from the jangling surf-centric themes, to the cheery chorus of “oohhs,” right down to the cover art–screams U.S. West Coast punk. It’s a deft appropriation of the style, down to an aesthetic T. And in all its joyous calls for beloved memories of summer, the love for the style effortless streams through.
Right out front, Deathcats launch into the day-dream haze of its loving obsession, yearning, “I wish it was summer” over and over without being desperate for nostalgia on the EP’s first cut. The slinking guitars featured here showcase throughout the three tracks, sticking with a provincial crispness fondly reminiscent of The Replacements during the Tim years. And for a band that’s seemingly so displaced from the origins of its sound, Raddest is unquestionably perfected.
The surf-punk movement has seen a timely revival in recent years, with the welcomed emergence of familiar pop-punk acts like Wavves, and Bay Area workaholics like Ty Segall. But while those acts dabble in the ’60s-inspired styles, drawing influences from multiple genres, Deathcats seem to be perfectly comfortable within its bubbling realm.
Perusing through Deathcats’ Soundcloud and Bandcamp, the admiration of the style doesn’t fall anywhere near short. The early demos of Raddest appear, including “Surfing In Ma Heed” and “Cowabunga Surf Jam” (in case there was any confusion, these guys love surf punk).
The early version of the EP’s second track sprawls with choppy, unfiltered character. While the band could find a comfort in that messy chasm, the Glasgow group and Sam Smith (who mastered the EP) pull their weight in refining the touches. Without that, Deathcats may have seen itself slip away into the endless stream of lo-fi garage punk acts.
Because of this, Deathcats actually have an appreciated image, even with its events. With the cassette EP on the way (available to order here on Fuzzkill Records), the band will be hosting launch parties in its native Glasgow at 13th Note and Edinburgh at Henry’s Cellar December 13-14. The first of which will be featuring Pinact, Min Diesel, and Catholic Action, with Deathcats politely asking that attendees wear some kind of beach clothing–something that might not be in abundance for most city natives.
With all the admiration and steadfast adherence to what the band unconsciously loves, it makes all the work going forward seem all-the-more genuine. It’s still a tough stretch to connect Glasgow to sunny afternoon drives, sandy beaches, and palm trees, but Deathcats make the dream a little more inspiring.
Raddest will be available as a free download December 9. Until then, download the band’s 2012 SHRED OR DEAD! EP and listen to Raddest below.