The fun-loving local trio tackles pizza and politics on its new album, “Garbage People,” out Friday, July 13. Its release show is Saturday, July 14, at Clock-Out Lounge.
They say Republican presidencies make for great punk records. Indeed, lefty punk rockers have delivered some of the most potent rock music in opposition to GOPers in the Oval Office dating back to the Reagan era.
Seattle punk darlings Wimps didn’t set out to give their third full-length album a more serious bent. But in an age when gut-punching headlines land daily, it’s almost unavoidable. “I think when times are good you can spend a lot of time being introspective and then when more is going on in the outside world, as a band we’re much more aware of politics than maybe we were in the past,” says Wimps frontwoman Rachel Ratner.
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The band best known for converting the mundanities of everyday life into catchy punk bursts tackles more outward-looking issues with its colorful new album, “Garbage People,” out Friday, July 13, through Kill Rock Stars, followed by a release show Saturday, July 14, at Clock-Out Lounge. The trio laid down the upbeat title track during the first in a series of weekend recording sessions spread out over several months and it quickly set the tone for the record. Looking back, Ratner says “Garbage People” fit the album’s unintentional theme of how individuals fit “within larger issues going on in the world around them.”
“For us, it was about all the garbage we create as people — literally, waste with plastics and all that kind of stuff — and all the garbage-y things that are happening with politics,” she explains.
Snappy lead-off track, “Giant Brain,” is a three-pronged, sci-fi pop-punk ditty about technology’s outsized role in our lives and the gender pay gap Ratner (a web developer by day) has experienced at past jobs, while also imagining a sentient internet takeover. Meanwhile, the runaway “Bees” laments the honeybee crisis while Gabi Page-Fort (Tissue, Stickers) scribbles free-jazz sax freakouts over a punchy riff and rubbery bass walks.
The scattered sessions — due to lack of funds and some unfinished songs — gave Wimps more time to think about vocal harmonies and other overdubs than past recordings had allowed, and the power trio bolstered its lean punk songs in spots with sax, keyboards and random percussion instruments lying around Ballard studio Pierced Ears.
Despite some of the weightier themes and sonic accoutrements, there’s plenty of Wimps’ classic fun-loving, no-frills punk that even make the minutiae of adulting feel like a good time. Case in point: ode to Saturday nights in “Wanna Go Out” or unhappy birthday anthem “Trip Around the Sun” — a tightly wound garage-punk jam fizzier than a shaken bottle of cheap champagne.
Elsewhere, “O.P.P.” (Other People’s Pizza) jokingly salutes drummer Dave Ramm’s pizza habits while “Mope Around” is a lethargic, cowbell-laced bopper that could soundtrack a punk-rock sock hop fueled by sedative-spiked punch. “Even when things feel like they’re a bummer and so some of the songs are a bummer, you need to remember to make jokes and laugh,” Ratner says. “I feel like some of the silly songs are just us blowing off steam in that way.”
Whether or not Wimps will dig further into its more serious side next time around remains to be seen. It will likely depend on the state of the world, and to some degree, the administration in power.
“If I have to write a silly album again after this because the world’s all been solved and everything’s great, that’s totally fine,” Ratner jokes.
Wimps record release with The Fabulous Downey Brothers and Sleepover Club. 9 p.m. Saturday, July 14, Clock-Out Lounge, 4864 Beacon Ave. S., Seattle; $10-$12, clockoutlounge.com