When I first picked up this new gem from The White Wires, I took the label (Dirtnap Records), the album photo, and then I jumped to conclusions. I figured it’d be some sort of garage rock record; I figured I dig it. In a sense, it does both things, but WWIII is far from just your average garage rocker; it’s got a lot more pop sensibility and natural energy, giving listeners much more than, if they’re like me, bargained for on this listen.
“All Night Long” blasts in with your typical garage fair, or so it seems. Guitars trade off from the speakers, jagged and distorted, but then Ian Manhire enters the fold. He’s got a polished vocal, allowing his natural fondness for pop to shine through with his lyrics. It’s a quick start, but in seconds you’ll be pogoing about your home. That sort of sentiment continues with “It’s Been a While,” a track that features a rolling drum beat, accented by heavy-hit cymbals, and staggered guitar licks. The chorus uses backing vocals to provide that extra bit of hook. But, WWIII isn’t just a blend of garage rock and pop-punk; it uses power-pop goodness to mix it up.
“The Magic” might not be the best song from The White Wires, but after three straight tracks of upbeat rock n’ roll in your face, it gives you a second to breathe in the power of a good power ballad. Guitars twinkle, bass fuzzes out and everything else wraps together to create a wonderful tune I can’t wait to see the group play live. However, the calming effect of the sequencing only lasts briefly here, with the band eager to get back to what they do best–rocking your face off.
I like the youthful attitude that’s present throughout the entirety of WWIII, giving you a license to just enjoy the record without having to think too much. “Let’s Start Over Again” is the perfect song to fit this sentiment, with lyrics in the chorus that reflect the simplicity of the song’s title. In doing so, the band has created anthemic choruses that are perfect for the live show, letting fans jump about and sing along in frivolity. Then it moves right into the bubbling bass work of “And Then You Told Me,” which features the band providing you with a sharp-edged swinging sensation. It sort of reminds me of a teenage Ted Leo, free of all the political heroics and legendary status.
Sure, I only filled the review with mention of a handful of songs, but you could easily use every track on WWIII as a lead single. Only one song reaches beyond the 3 minute mark, keeping things tight and joyous in a short space. It propels the record, but it also caters to durability for The White Wires. You’re not going to get bored listening to this record (I promise!), and you’re going to find something to get you going on every track. Take elements of pop punk, garage rock, power-pop, even power ballads–throw it in a blender with a gritty attitude, vibrancy and solid recording–you’ll end up with the perfect recipe for a great listen, and a great album from this Ottawa trio.
Download:The White Wires – All Night Long [MP3]