Artist: New Bomb Turks
Album: Live ’93 VPRO Radio Holland
Engineer: Paul Weijenberg
Label: Anyway Records
Summary: blistering punk, snarling vocals, bilious lyrics. It rocks.
On one of my excursions to the now defunct Sound Exchange in Austin, TX, I stumbled upon an oddity: a 45 rpm 12” of the New Bomb Turks on a radio show in Holland. It only had 5 songs, one of which was the title track on their debut, Destroy-Oh-Boy!!, but I figured that at $5, it was worth a shot.
That was sometime in 2002. Today, I can say that it was easily the best music buy I made that year. The first two songs, Taller Order and Girl Can Help It, are my favorite NBT songs (I own two NBT cds). I thought that Destroy-Oh-Boy!! was a fairly impassioned album, but those two songs on the LP raised the bar. They are seething with energy.
What I noticed first was how the record was mixed. My personal preference for high-speed punk bands like NBT is to turn the guitar’s midrange frequencies all the way up and bring the guitar to the front of the mix. I basically want the guitars to cut through everything else.
Thankfully, this NBT record is mixed just the way I like it. The guitars are so prominent it sounds like the amp is in your room. As for drums and bass, they are right where they should be. They don’t overshoot the guitar but don’t take a back seat either. To balance the mid-saturated tone of the guitar, the bass is set mellower and motors away at a steady clip, keeping the guitar in check. Vocals also have their place- somewhere above bass and drums but below guitar.
I’ve come to expect a certain writing style from NBT. Simple, short, to the point. They don’t waste time on solos or intricate melodies. (Not that those are bad things, but when playing punk at the pace they do, there’s little time for intricacy). The song is over as soon as it started and you feel like the wind was knocked out of you. Most songs clock in under three minutes.
Taller Order and Girl Can Help It, however, follow a different structure. They are about one minute longer. The riffs are no more complicated or lengthy than the average NBT song, but the tempos are slightly slower. The songs aren’t necessarily sluggish, though; they supply the band with more time to differentiate between notes and parts of the song. This provides for songs that progress at a more even keel and gradually build intensity until they climax at the end.
NBT’s drummer does his job well. The songs are given a steady foundation on which the bass can establish a melody for the guitar to grate on. Girl Can Help It, for example, progresses as such: four-bar drum intro, two bars of bass, two bars of guitar build, and it finally breaks into the main riff two bars thereafter. It sounds elementary, but it’s clean, methodical songwriting like this that will burn a song into your memory. Girl Can Help It ends with the singer calling “Faster, faster, faster!” as the tempo accelerates to something that would break a lesser band into pieces. They top it off with an awesome rumble-meltdown.
The good news: if you like simple, raunchy punk songs with steady rhythms, this is your record.
The bad news: this record is hard as hell to find. It’s nowhere on Amazon and I only found two other sites that even list it for sale. Look here and here (the second is in Holland). If you can’t find it, there’s always ebay, and as a last resort, give their first album a try. It will give you a good idea what they’re all about and contains one of the tracks on this record.Powered by Sidelines