Spooky punks Tsunami Bomb from Petaluma are about to release an album on Alternative Tentacles with their new lineup. The record, called The Spine That Binds, is a full-length the band has slowly been putting together since reuniting in 2015. Now, I come here with this review as not a Tsunami Bomb fan, but as someone that has NOT been one. I have no prior love or dislike for other lineups so this review speaks from fairly neutral ears. I would like to mention that I have had the pleasure of getting to know the fantastic people in this band over the last few years this album has come together and have seen the work they put into shaping this band for what it currently is.
I acknowledge the outside criticism of the band. Yes, the singer is new. Yes, it is not who you might be used to. But this album is worth a listen. It is well-made, honest, and from a group of people that sincerely want to just play and have fun.
The first track, fitting for the band’s nautical name, is called “Tidal.” The song beckons you to listen with a powerful intro and draws you in closer with vocalist Kate’s siren-like call. The album continues with a fast and forceful tune “Naysayers,” that would most likely start a circle pit in most venues. With riot inciting backup vocals and that galloping drum beat, this tune is pretty punk. “Hathors” drops down the mood, with a mid-tempo creepy vibe, where “Sinkhole” is a straight up pop punk song.
Now let me talk about “Sinkhole” for a second. I absolutely love this song and it is my favorite one on the record. It’s got a melody that sticks to your brain like glue while maintaining just enough of the dark sound the band embodies. Notably, as a fan of call and response, Oobilette’s answering vocal parts really make the song for me.
Moving on to the rest of the record, it is full of little tricks and treats from everyone. With Andy’s steady hand he delivers crunchy palm mutes consistently throughout each track, while drummer Gabe keeps time like a steady clock pushing towards midnight. Add the haunting organ leads and punchy eerie bass lines, this album is as dark and creepy as it is fun and entertaining to listen to. There is a lot going on and always something for your ear to catch for the next listen. One thing that stands out to me that I love is the trade off of lead vocals that happens in the songs later on in the album. Like water and fire, Kate and Oobilete’s vocal styles are extremely different, but the clash of two different elements make for such a great sound. The two harmonize together perfectly and their separate parts compliment the songs beautifully.
As per every review I have written, I must talk about the bass. Dominic’s creative progressions are well executed, punchy, and mixed just right so I can pick them out to enjoy.
I could go on and on about many of the details on this album, but I want there to be something left for whoever reads this to find for themselves. The Spine That Binds is beautiful, spooky, eerie, and punk as fuck. Give it a listen. You won’t regret it.