[Full disclosure: Welter front man Jeremy Saul is more than just a great musician; he is also a dear friend! As a result, I held off blogging about Welter for many months. But their debut record is so great, I had to share! Read on to find out why...]
Philly rock trio Welter make music that hearkens back to America in the '90s -- when bands like Jawbreaker and Alkaline Trio won over fans with angst-y lyrics, post-punk guitars and adrenaline-fueled basement romps. Front man Jeremy Saul grew up listening to classic and alt rock, and has been giging around around the city for years, winning over crowds with his earnest lyrics and sick guitar work, before forming Welter in 2010. Since then, the band has quickly earned its stripes as a promising up-and-comer, opening for acts like the Misfits, The Absolute Zeros, BOAT, and more.
Their debut album, The Bush Years (named after the era when many of the songs were conceived) dropped a few weeks back and proves a rollicking listen of grunge-y, post-punk anthems that feel both instantly familiar and refreshingly new -- reinventing '90s rock in a similar manner to contemporaries like Cloud Nothings and Yuck. Opener "For the distance" is a crunchy, angst-ridden gambol with slick guitars; follower "Favorite" is a surprisingly sweet, whistle-laden love song. "Son of Captain Obvious" is the clear single -- all jangly punk chords and too-cool-to-care Billie Joe Armstrong-esque vocals -- while "In your own" bounces along exuberantly, its boisterous chorus burrowing in your skull.
Elsewhere, the band flirts with hard rock (the Deep Purple-esque "Let me ride"), reflection (the earnest-but-not-cloying "Such"; the introspective "Day is Done") and psychedelics (the appropriately named "Psychedelia") more or less successfully -- resulting in an engaging listen that alt-rock fans of all types are sure to enjoy.
Stream "Son of Captain Obvious" for free at Welter's Bandcamp; then tune in to my radio show Monday night from 6 to 8 p.m. to catch a sweet cut from The Bush Years.