Osaka Punch have come back with a vengeance in 2016, re-releasing their much acclaimed debut Voodoo Love Machine, as well as touring in support of U.S. hardcore heroes Fall Of Troy, and more recently Melbourne-based Sydonia. Topping off what has been a super productive year is the release of their latest EP, Death Monster Super Squad.
Death Monster Super Squad is, confusingly, both stripped back to basics and more ambitious than anything Osaka Punch have attempted before. This time around the concept is that each song represents a character and a set of traits that we are all-too familiar with, such as “Harry ‘Make The Call’ Manhattan”, who in their own words is a “master manipulator” and “a sociopath by nature”, with more of the squad to be revealed as the album is released in full. However, for all the thematic complexity Death Monster Super Squad brings to the table, the songwriting itself is powerfully simple. Every riff has space to breathe, and no piece of keyboard trickery or vocal flare gets buried under superfluous noise.
In particular, Stonk purifies everything these boys from Brissy do so well; a dash of tongue-in-cheek social critique mixed with a fully fat guitar riff, fried over a thick and creamy bass and topped with a generous helping of attitude, Stonk serves up a delicious track that will have fans and new listeners alike coming back for more. Death Monster Super Squad isn’t just a punishing punk or metal EP however. As fans of this band will expect, Osaka Punch bring the goods with a wide variety of tracks such as the brass band romp that is ‘Eat You Up’, a track which brings to mind the thought of Christina Aguilera if she had instead followed a career into punk rock.
Osaka Punch’s strongest quality has always been an honesty that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and this EP has that honest charm in spades. For evidence of this, look no further than the charming closing track, Spider and the Fly, which is an unassuming ballad with little trickery or gimmick other than a passionate delivery of candid lyrics. As always, Jack Venables’ vocals are remarkably dynamic, both on this track and across the whole EP, as he flows between full-force metal growls and silky-smooth lounge jazz tones that would make Michael Buble jealous.
As with anything this band does, Death Monster Super Squad is a high quality work, and deserves all the praise it is set to receive. Death Monster Super Squad is out on the 16th of September through Birds Robe Records, and is not to be missed.