Shocktroopers – Self Titled

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews

Shocktroopers

Self Titled - Self Released

Wyoming bare-bones punk rock trio Shocktroopers probably spent their adolescent years listening to nothing but The Ramones.  After all, their self-titled full length is practically born from the same three chord pop punk than birthed a genre many decades back.  The group is incredibly true to their source material, making those with an ear for The Ramones an obvious audience.  That being said, a few chords in and the danger of sticking so close to their roots presents itself as a classic case of imitation over originality.

Their self titled album opens with “Juicehead,” and to be frank, my first thought was “aren’t those the chords to blitzkrieg bop?”  While sharing obvious differences there’s a lot in the tempo and note spacing that begs the comparison.  Compounding matters, the basic song structure repeats for at least the first third of the album’s thirteen tracks – from “Out Of my League” to “Bored,” – and pops up on tracks like“Loitering With Intent” as the album runs its course.  When playing in the three chord crowd it’s tough to stand out from the pack, and in climate already dominated by the likes of Teenage Bottlerocket, a misstep or two is a death sentence.

The band does exhibit some promising qualities though, particularly their deep bass and occasionally witty dialogue.  Tracks that break from the mould include those like “Break All The Rules” which hammers away defiantly and unravels like a story with an unpredictable ending (featuring the album’s only real solo), and reduced tempo of “Hit Rider,” which plays out as a solid example of an underground artist denouncing the superficiality of top 40’s single seekers.  In other words, Shocktroopers have some good ideas of their own, yet insist on letting the ideas of others dominate their playtime.

In the end, Shocktroopers sounds and feels like the first effort that it is.  It features all the marks of a band that knows their destination but forgot to fuel their van, and clearly requires some soul searching before ditching an unavoidable “been there done that” vibe.  Still, their hearts are in the right place, and with a little work they could easily turn things around – they just need to stop spinning those Ramones records from time to time.