WSTR are through and through an internet success story, rising to prominence through Facebook groups and gaining attention with each digital release. SKRWD is their debut EP and was designed purely to be blasted through speakers at a house party.
The channelling influences of genre heavyweights Neck Deep and The Wonder Years can be heard most clearly in the opener ‘South Drive’, introducing the cataclysmic formula that is WSTR. A mix of fast riffing that is a sure fire party starter and drum patterns that are neither overdone nor minimalistic. This approach alongside some of the most life affirming and heart wrenching lyrics to come out of the scene in recent years. With all the lyrical content being backed up by some creative and innovative spins on the typical pop-punk genre it is clear that WSTR live and breathe the scene.
Both ‘Fair Weather’ and ‘Graveyard Shift’ build on these ideas and keep the entire album focused towards a particular sound. ‘Ain’t Great’ manages to straddle the fine line between breakup ballad and pure visceral punk. Stand out track however is the closer ‘Devils ‘n Demons’, which paints an abstract narrative of desolate late teenage years yet is still near perfect in its barrage of power chords. Whilst the aforementioned emotive lyrics and song structure are without a doubt well written, there seems to be a touch of ideas being put across just for the sake of fitting them onto this album. All the boxes are ticked, just some of them feel a little too hastily done.
There is no lull in the musical soundscape of SKRWD, clocking in at 17 minutes it is over too soon and leaves you begging for more. If WSTR can keep up the momentum shown here, then the sky’s really is the limit for them.
Jack Webb @A_Double_Jack