[ALBUM REVIEW] The Normandys – Booze, Bitterness & Broken Hearts

TRACKLISTING

Raise Your Glass
She’s a Waste
Bruce
Too Late
Working Class Like Whiskey
Say Goodbye
States United
Lost Souls
Jingle Beers
Horseshoes & Handgrenades
Youth vs Experience

 

Here is your punk rock fun stop from the fulsome, frothing five piece original band from Tulsa, OK, namely The Normandys.

Now the the album title suggest this collection may have more than a few boozy moments of regret ridden recollection relived throughout and certainly representations of romance gone awry, so strap yourself in and get ready for the mayhem and merriment all packaged into a punchy punk presentation in BBABH.  By the way, I believe the title abbreviation is no mistake, nor fun filled faux pa because this group are absolutely acquainted with crowd participation and familiar crew arm in arm, beer spilling left and right, singing in unison to their fantastic sound.  The fact that BBABH is probably how I pronounce ‘bathroom’ when engaged in punk rock beer babbling celebration is probably no coincidence.

For those yet to experience this sensational group of performers, let me introduce you to you punk/hardcore maestros Jay Horn, Weston Horn, Sean Degan, Les Hodge, and Pete Webb, who together bring delight with their music, but please don’t allow me misrepresent their capacity for good old punk fun, because this band are serious and capable, providing all the ferocity, angst and anger required at the most appropriate moment.

But let’s embark on their collection of works that make up Booze Bitterness and Broken Hearts with the most appropriately named Raise Your Glass.  This number introduces the new listener to the live band ‘persona’ and a hearty helping of what to expect stage front from Jay and the lads.  Right to you, just for you…personally, so raise your glass in honour of soldiers past and sing along before the album kicks into gear in earnest with She’s A Waste.

A punk rock punch to the chest with the classic guitar work and melodic mayhem.  Catchy, hooky and heralding what will be a gem for lovers of the classic punk sound, but made very much the bands own brand.

Bruce combines a fantastic west coast punk sound blended to perfection with a transatlantic undertow and probably my very favourite track from the entire collection.  Selfish I know, but this track reignites everything I have ever loved about the punk genre from the classic to contemporary, it’s all here.

Too late provides a lyrical feud throughout accompanied by heavy melodic guitar blasts and the odd backing vocals that are reminiscent of the closing stages of Janie Jones, The Clash, 1977.  A dynamic track that ducks and weaves its way through a myriad of stylings, but collectively forms and attractive package all the way to its abrupt end.

Working Class Like Whiskey is written perfectly for the crowd to celebrate and shout back in collective working class pride.   Not to say that this groups music is limited to a particular type of audience member.  From the construction crew fresh off site to the lawyer ripping the three piece to threads and throwing pieces at the stage in rebellious glee, this is for everyone.  You can just imagine a surgeon somewhere, elbow deep in intestinal ooze, nodding his head to the beat and humming this track aloud.  There’s a punk in us all just busting to get loose and rock out the Normandy’s way.

Say Goodbye carries all the musically muddled and gobsmacked confusion of the subject matter, but carries itself as sensationally as Jay’s ship…our ship…his ship…their ship? Fuck…whatever…A SHIP.  It’s sailed in any case.

The band have been brilliant and melodic in backing vocal delivery…until now in States United, as the backing vocals brilliantly portray the inner angst and anger, shouting and screaming in outraged disbelief while the face, the lead just keeps on keeping on in a uniformed and ‘acceptable’ manner.  That could be just my personal take but, for me at least, volumes are spoken in the reverse style to go with the lyrics, representative of our often outraged inner monologue.

Grab your skate board and hit the pavement to this classic US styled soaring sensation Lost Souls, but not for teen pleasing lyrics because the content comes from the voice of experience.  More due to the beat, the harmony and the lyrics that will have this track stuck in your head for a while, so might as well hit the streets and enjoy it some more.

The soulful reflection and haunting harmonica have you guessing for a while.  Have I stumbled into a fucked up punk Piano Man altered state of reality? But as wistful recollections appear to be taking as down a path of philosophic reflection, the band blast back into their signature celebration in careless abandon, and complete the track, true to their manic methodology.

Horseshoes and Handgrenades is already accomplished as a fan favourite for The Normandys and little wonder why.  Have a peek at the video clip and you too will be in celebration with the band, whiskey thrust aloft and yelling lyrics back to the band.  It must have been a difficult decision not to sequence this energetic behemoth of a track at finale, and leave the listener wanting more and more, but instead we are left with Youth Vs Experience.  It makes little difference, because this track completes the collection in superb style.  Much like the entire album, this track should not be taken when using heavy machinery or a motor vehicle in heavy traffic, lest ye take matters into your own, now powerful hands.  The clout, the angst, the sensational musical contribution to go with the voice of a pissed off generation are represented brilliantly on the final track and the album is rounded up tremendously.

This album is a significant achievement form The Normandys and is certain to spark a whole new wave of fans to their already heaving fold.  A fold with glasses raised in salute to the working class grind, the state of this fucking world, the endless stream of relationship ending shit or the relentless expectations from The Man.  Or you can be a perfectly well adjusted person, pissed at nothing in particular, but by recording completion, you will be part of the The Normandys normal, hurling venom and spilling whiskey in the finest of passionate punk method, and emerge ready to take on another day. Bravara lads.  Finely delivered.