Record of the Week: Bootlicker - S/T 12"

Bootlicker: S/T 12” (Neon Taste Records) After several attention-getting EPs, Canada’s Bootlicker released their first 12” record, and it’s a beast! I’ve liked all of Bootlicker’s previous releases, but there’s no denying the band has a certain spring in its step for this 12”. Soundwise they haven’t changed much—they still bring together the best parts of driving UK82, classic USHC, and a touch of d-beat—but everything feels totally locked in here. The production is strong too. Interestingly, the guitar tone is quite thin, scratchy, and undistorted, sort of like Regulations. This might seem like a strange choice for music so brawny and powerful, but it works, leaving the bass and drums plenty of room in the mix to deliver an extra helping of wallop. As with all of Bootlicker’s previous releases, there’s an emphasis on strong songwriting here, with dynamic arrangements that keep you on your toes and no shortage of catchy, chant-along choruses, climaxing with the anthemic closer, “Jackboot.” This is a flat-out rager, balancing power, precision, and catchiness in a way very few bands can match.

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