WHITE BRONCO are a four piece alternative rock group hailing from Chicago and personally describe their music as ‘indie crack rock’. Named after the vehicle O.J. Simpson was driving after his ‘alleged’ murders, WHITE BRONCO seem intent on subverting the mainstream and their music has the raw edge that you might expect. The E.P. was recorded and produced by Barrett Guzaldo at Treehouse Records, and consisting of six tracks.
Their music is a potent blend of rock and punk elements, bringing to mind Fugazi (the vocals bare a resemblance to Fugazi’s Ian Mackaye) and the scattershot, manic and unpredictable aspects of bands like At The Drive-In and Sonic Youth. They don’t pay much heed to traditional song structures, which keeps the listener on the edge of their seat.
The album opener, Tantrum’s Vision is a statement of intent, a manifesto and prelude to the rest of the E.P, starting with circling tribal tom patterns and a wall of serrated edge guitars. Clark, the singer, gives his spoken word ‘vision’ of his exposed drummer, Tantrum, explaining he is ‘a man forsaken by the realms of society‘ and that WHITE BRONCO will ‘rightly rise, conquer and rule the world‘ and ‘wake society from its everlasting slumber‘. Then all hell breaks loose as the band build to a lightning fast punk rock section with some whirlwind drum fills and blazing electric guitar. A great opener.
It leads perfectly into Pretty Pixxxels which begins with an ominous baseline before heading into an exhilarating pure punk rock section with thrashing cymbals galore. Clark sings rather than speaks this one with a voice that perfectly suits the music; distinctive, raw and with a barely contained intense delivery. They inhabit the punk ideal of using very few chords, creating variety through inventive, constantly shifting dynamics. Particularly effective is the punctuated toms on the song’s hook “Pretty pixxxels, won’t you tell me all your secrets…”.
The third track The Routine is a nice change of pace, the verse surprisingly sparse with more swirling toms, a melodic chiming guitar line and a naggingly catchy vocal line. It leads to another great thrash section designed for headbanging, and this effective quiet-loud-quiet dynamic recalls The Pixies and Nirvana.
The following song Br@fton is the most mellow track here, all things being relative, as Clark paints a picture of a humdrum place: “At Brafton they want you to be yourself, because you’re boring and you play the hand you’re dealt….”. Again, it alternates between a quiet verse and overdriven guitar section, showing their musicality nicely; these guys can actually play.
These two tracks are along like a lull before the storm of fifth song Fuck Tha Brass, my personal favourite on the E.P. Starting with an intro that the MC5 would have been proud of, it soon develops into punk rock played at a searing pace that is actually impossible to avoid nodding your head to. It features the simple but brilliant hook of “F..f..f..fuck tha brass“. Tourettes never sounded so good.
The closing track Bedhead is the epic of the E.P. at nearly five minutes long, introduced by a brooding quiet section with a surprisingly pretty guitar sound. It builds momentum gradually till at the three minute mark the razor blade guitars and tsunami drums are let loose one last time, bringing to mind Nirvana’s classic cover of the song D7. They throw in a very amusing spoken word outro just for good measure.
Overall, this is an exhilarating musical ride that belies any notion that ‘rock is dead’. On the contrary, rock is very much alive and WHITE BRONCO are one of the finest exponents of what remains a potent and exciting genre when performed at its best. This band deserve to be huge, and I think they will be provided they don’t self-implode along the way. Highly recommended.
Verdict: 8.6 out of 10