Molly Rhythm – Dark Matters (Little Rocket Records)

Although Philadelphia’s Molly Rhythm have been pounding the boards for several years this is the first time I’ve had a chance to check them out, and boy am I glad that I did. Usually when you think of a punk band with a brass section, your first assumption will be that you’ve got a ska-punk combo on your hands.

Most of the time you’d be right but then you’ve got bands like The Filaments or Rocket From The Crypt who mainly use it to fill out their punk sound with some warmer tones. What those bands teach you is to not make assumptions and let the music speak for itself. Well that is exactly what you should do with this new album from Molly Rhythm, because these guys and gals are taking you on a ride that you really cannot predict.

Turbo-charged with a heavy chugging guitar and pounding bass and drums keeping the beat, the real focal point is the stunning vocal harmony courtesy of Nikki and Elissa. The brass instruments (sax and trombone) serve to add an additional depth, providing melodies and atmosphere throughout.

This is a socially enlightened band; songs such as Fossil Fools and This is Fracking Ridiculous speaking volumes, with the slightly surreal album cover reinforcing that Molly Rhythm has definitely got a voice and they are not afraid to raise it. The turning point for me is the acoustic song Ghosts Laugh which is a fragile song lifted by a violin and vocals that add an Amy Winehouse vibe to the record.

I say turning point as that song really makes you sit up and listen, and that is a good thing as the next tune Hunt is a completely different animal – a hard as nails banger where lilting vocals do battle with gutural screams. After that you’re really kept on your toes as they throw everything into the ring. A Hopeful Lament shows some optimism in an otherwise bleak/ realistic picture that they paint on this aptly named collection of Dark Matters. A release like this is brilliant – just when you think you’re a jaded old music fan who has seen and heard it all, there are still bands out there challenging the musical status quo and turning everyting you thought you knew about punk rock upside down and inside out. Tom Chapman

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