On paper, Volcano Boys looks like another project from the prolific Jordan Mayland (Jordan Mayland and the Thermal Detonators, Keepers of the Carpet, Nuclear Rodeo, Electronidoll and Tires), who is the principal vocalist and songwriter. But the blending of talent from Wolves in the Attic and Mantis Pincers member Trent Derby (drums, percussion and vocals), Eric Moffitt (guitar) and Tom Reneker (bass), gives Volcano Boys a sound reminiscent of retro-’90s alternative guitar rock.
The debut record from Volcano Boys is relentless in its no-holds-barred barrage of pop and grunge punk.
The album has mood swings. Like that friend you know who was absolutely the life of the party before taking a drunken swing at you.
At one end of that swing, you have the bombastic guitar attacks of album opener “40 Days & 40 Nights” and “The One”—both of which have a dark, layered guitar sound that reminds me of Sunny Day Real Estate. The triumphant refrain of “Aaaaaa-OOOOOO!” makes “The One” my favorite track on the album, and “Criminal’s” garden of Nirvana chords blooms with raging blossoms of distortion during its chugging bridge.
At the other end of the sonic mood pendulum, you’ll find songs that rely less on a storm of distortion and more on a poppy, surfy punk sound—think Pixies and Weezer.
“Blistered and Healed” may be a jarring switch from the previous “40 Days & 40 Nights,” but it doesn’t take long before you realize what this ride is going to be like. The aptly-named “Your Favorite Song” has had its stomp-and-clap rhythm, soaring vocals and pounding chords in rotation at Iowa Public Radio for good reason.
In “I Don’t Care,” Mayland sings the backhanded apology, “When the disco ball falls you’ll go, I’ll run. I don’t care as much as you think. I’m a dickhead-fuckface-dipshit-asshole.”
Those are the words of the friend that calls you to party again. And you do.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 170.