Plenty of contemporary garage-punk outfits have clearly learned a lot about sneering, cheap guitars, and fuzztone from wearing out their old Back from the Grave and Teenage Shutdown comps, but Ottawa's the White Wires are one of the rare bands to pick up on the other important lesson to be learned from '60s garage rockers: all the snot and snazz in the world doesn't mean a thing unless you have a great song to go with it. On WWII, the White Wires prove they know plenty about coming up with a killer tune, and in just over 27 minutes, they offer up a dozen songs blessed with great melodies, memorable hooks, and lyrics that are cool, witty, and heartfelt all at once. It's not hard to imagine that with a little more polish, "Hands," "Popularity," "Did You Forget My Name," or "Let's Go to the Beach" could be genuine hit singles in some universe, and while on the surface "Be True to Your School (‘Til You Get Kicked Out)" and "Outta My Mind" have enough snarkiness to satisfy any jaded punk rocker, listen to those tunes, hear Ian Manhire airing out the heart on his sleeve, and you know that there's a great pop band at work beneath this album's noisy surface. The lo fi production pushes the punk factor to the surface on these sessions, and it's certainly a key component in the White Wires' style, but guitarist Hanhire, bassist Luke Martin, and drummer Allie Hanlon are also a tight and admirably concise trio; they don't just write like a great pop band, they play like one too, and this album will make your heart melt just a little while it's kicking up the dust, something few bands of this ilk have dared to even try. If you're looking for some great lo-fi fun, WWII delivers, but anyone who wants to hear some top-shelf pop-centric rock & roll really owes it to themselves to give this a listen.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming