Black Wine

Yell Boss

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Putting the pop into pop-punk often seems to water down the brew, taking something that's supposed to have a rough edge and making it seem smoother and less intense. New Jersey's Black Wine, however, are a band that's learned how to make punk tuneful without blunting its impact, and their fourth album, Yell Boss, is a great set of eclectic, intelligent rock that's fun and ferocious, full of tunes that you can shout along with and hum to yourself days later. Black Wine are no cookie-cutter pop-punk band, and their approach is informed by first-generation punk, indie rock, and classic three-minute pop singles of the '60s and '70s, showing little regard for current fast/loud stuff or vintage hard rock. (Not a lot of current punk bands would try to cover the Guess Who's "No Time," and fewer still would make it work like Black Wine do here.) The industrial-strength pop of "Solar Flare," "Breaking Down," and "Komrades" recalls the sainted Fastbacks more than any contemporary pop-punkers, and Black Wine write lyrics that show they're not afraid of a bit of rabble-rousing or tough emotional honesty. These songs may be simple, but Black Wine use the building blocks with shrewd efficiency, and guitarist Jeff Schroeck, bassist Jason Nixon, and drummer Miranda Taylor draw sweat from playing without missing a single step. And anyone who can resist the siren song of "Magnet Time" probably doesn't care much at all about rock & roll. Hooks, muscle, heart, smarts, and wit -- Black Wine have enough of what you need to go around, and Yell Boss is evidence they're one of the most satisfying bands on the East Coast.

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