Party With Us! – The Wee-Beasties
I stumbled upon The Wee-Beasties on social media when the algorithms decided they wanted to make me aware of their new album Party With Us! I’ve never heard of this punk-rock band out of Denton, Texas before, but what sparked my interest was the description pf symphony-punk-rock. In this case it means that they are a punk-rock outfit with a brass section. This albums is their first full-length since 2011, and what I’ve read they apparently put on one hell of a live-show. I can’t testify to this myself though, but they say themselves that they have gathered up a cult-following during their two decades as a band.
Musically this makes me think of Reel Big Fish but with a bit more punk-rock as a solid base. Mix that with lyrics about partying and drinking and you have a fun-sounding and not too serious first third of the album. Then on tracks like The Fight Has Commenced and Find Joe Cripps a the band leans much more heavily into the ska-side of their sound, letting the tempo drop a bit and put more focus on the brass-section. Even more mellow does it get on Shred Season and parts of It’s Happening Tonight, which is a nice brake from the more frantic party-songs.
There’s no doubt that this is a band that has been playing for a couple of decades now and has become comfortable to play with the genres quite a bit. What ties it all together is a nice sense of melody, and despite the size of the band and variety of instruments it doesn’t ever brake down into chaos completely. Lyrically it definitely has a party vibe, although the band goes into some more serious territory on a few occasions, for example in the more angry Make Them Pay and the heartbreak-themed Shred Season.
The overall feeling is that this is a party-album, as one can discern from the title of the album and the cover art, although with some nice changes of pace thrown in. Party With Us! is an album for fans of the kind of ska-punkrock that bands like Reel Big Fish and on occasion The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Less Than Jake delivers. It’s well played, it doesn’t take itself too seriously and most importantly it’s fun. It’s also more well produced than their previous releases, without sounding to clean or overproduced. A really nice surprise and a big step forward for these guys.