When we last heard from The Hullmen, the down-and-dirty sleaze rockers were refining their sound on the 6-song EP Expensive Taste. The (relatively) slick affair was a welcome update of the band’s lo-fi Stooges- and Cramps-inspired grind, offering “plenty of cheap thrills while still living up to its name.” Less than a year later, The Hullmen are back with another 6-song EP that further tweaks their sound. Pretty Red Flags may not be inspired by Milwaukee’s recent flag drama (we think), but it’s an inspired shot of punk and grimy rock ‘n’ roll nonetheless.
Musically, Pretty Red Flags is a crunchier, crispier, and grittier take on the more polished sound of Expensive Taste. Opener “Slight Reprise” is aptly named, taking the familiar Hullmen formula—sneering vocals, clanging percussion—and injecting it with an extra shot of piss and vinegar. “R.S.V.P.” chugs along like a tanker truck for more than a minute before launching into full-fledged punk assault. Closer “Addiction To You,” meanwhile, scores big with some nerve-shredding guitar squeals and an enjoyably doom-and-gloom chorus (“I like to think that you never lie / But in the end we all die”). Hell, there’s even a cover of Hole’s “Jennifer’s Body,” complete with a convincing Courtney Love wail courtesy of bassist-singer Jason Gettemy.
Take a listen to the Martin Defatte-engineered, Justin Perkins-mastered album below, and check out the album’s release show Friday, May 20 at Circle-A.