Sweet Baby Octane
Release date: November 20, 2015
We live in an age of incredible diversity. It doesn’t matter what your pleasure is, it’s available somewhere, and this is never truer than in the realm of music. Rock n’ roll has splintered into a million factions, and due to the increasingly global nature of society and communication, we are no longer restricted to bands on our home turf. This has to be how Sweden’s Psychopunch has escaped my notice for so long. With a discography reaching back as far as 1999, it’s criminal that I haven’t heard their amped-up punk rock anthems before the band’s eleventh album, Sweet Baby Octane. Mixing elements of 1970s rock and punk, the band creates a sing along roar that fills a niche in rock music that few others have been able to fill with the kind of energy and swagger Psychopunch offers on their latest release.
Bookended between opening and closing tracks “Intro” where listeners are advised to “buckle up and enjoy the ride” and “Outro” where our narrator signs of with “see you on the road” are thirteen songs that define punk rock. I’m not talking about elitist punk music that eschews its rock n’ roll roots, but punk rock like we heard in the late 70s from bands like Dead Boys, or in more recent years from bands like The Stivs, Supersuckers, or New Bomb Turks. “I’ve Been Around” explodes this collection to life with kicked up songs that add the fury and grit of punk to the tried and true rock n’ roll formula. Vocalist JM’s delivery evokes comparisons to Mudhoney’s Mark Arm at his most vicious moments, while guitarist Magnus Henriksson offers both muscular rhythm guitar and stinging leads. Under all this, bassist Patrik “Walle” Wallert and drummer Jocke are the throttle that drives these songs forward. It’s clear from this first song that Psychopunch is a force to be reckoned with.
Psychopunch captures the fun of punk rock with songs like “On A Night Like This (Hell Yeah)” that comes in somewhere between post-Danzig Misfits and Screeching Weasel territory. This party anthem has energy and balls to spare. “Forever And A Day” turns the idea of a love song into a punk rock duet between JM and German vocalist Clare Von Stitch into pure punk bliss with a chorus that practically begs you to sing along. “Drinking Alone,” the band’s first ever song to include an acoustic guitar, opens in a way that promises melancholy, only to quickly transition into a great rock song with energy and attitude. “So High” takes a slightly darker approach, but still manages to deliver an infectious chorus that keeps the whole affair a good time. Rarely have I heard and album that’s this much fun from beginning to end.
Psychopunch puts the rock back into punk rock. They have created their own section of rock music by bringing together strong sounds and remembering the fun escape that music can be. Sweet Baby Octane rocks hard, and delivers anthem after anthem of well-crafted and perfectly executed songs. If your search for sonic bliss includes punk power, straight ahead rock, and a heavy dose of fun, Psychopunch is the band you’ve been looking for.