Delivering their debut album to coincide with the US presidential election, Wakrat (pronounced Wok-Rat) is a contemporary punk rock band fronted by former Rage Against The Machine bassist Tim Commerford. Known for his impressive basslines that combine funk with hard rock, Commerford is bringing elements of that to his new band whilst singing too. Many of the RATM characteristics are here, but the music is much more angular, abrasive, and faster. Lead single, “Generation Fucked” raises a middle finger to the establishment, and features Tim’s thick bass sound front and centre, whilst guitarist, Laurent Grangeon produces guitar noise akin to Rage guitarist Tom Morello. Preferring to use odd guitar effects to create a unique sonic palette, he colours ‘Wakrat’ with all manner of interesting sounds, making it far more interesting than just playing punk power chords all the time. Drummer Mathias Wakrat pounds his kit with the finesse of a jazz drummer and the aggression of a punk drummer. Listening to him is enough to make you exhausted. Commerford’s vocals bear a resemblance to Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor at his most aggressive. It all makes for a chaotic explosion of sound. At 28 minutes in length, this nine track album is a short, sharp shock to the system. Just like a decent punk album should be, it’s straight to the point, and takes no prisoners. “New Clear” is the only song here with anything resembling a guitar solo. A fanfare of dizzying warbling notes, it’s a refreshing enjoyable noise for someone that is used to listening to players with flawless technique. Standout track “Nail In The Snail” (which also wins the best song title on the record) certainly mixes some of the funkier elements of Commerford’s former band with a much more industrial sound. There are no fancy production techniques on display here. This is a raw, warts ‘n’ all album… a fly in the pop music ointment. Politically charged lyrics and anti-establishment themes litter this record, and it’s clear Wakrat are a band that stick up for the oppressed (Their first UK show saw all profits go to the homeless charity Shelter). This isn’t an album for people that think punk rock is all Blink-182, Simple Plan, and All Time Low. This is punk with a voice and something to say. Now go buy it and turn it up!
Review: Colin Plumb