Believe it or not, The Pukes have only been a band since the spring of 2015. It might seem like a much longer span of time to local listeners because the grimy trio has released an EP and a 45, played dozens of shows and area festivals, has a single in regular rotation on both 88Nine and WMSE, was tabbed as local support for a recent Turner Hall show, and is eight days removed from opening for Mark “BBQ” Sultan. At this point, what could possibly remain on The Pukes’ “up-and-coming Milwaukee band” checklist? Releasing a true blue full-length.
That important box will be checked Saturday, when the punk-meets-doo-wop outfit hurls its debut full-length, The Revenge Of The Pukes, out into the world. Strangely, considering the band has songs like “Murder” and “Execution” in its arsenal, the album was self-recorded by The Pukes in their downtown rehearsal space at Summerfield United Methodist Church. Though those song names (not to mention “They’ll Never Find You” and “Gravestone”) might not be the most Christian titles out there, The Pukes somehow manage to skillfully straddle an invisible line between crusty creepiness and downright catchy numbers that seem to be constructed from elements of oldies.
Songs like “Gum In Your Hair” and “What Should I Do” illustrate as much by way of summery, timeless three-chord rock befitting of Buddy Holly’s catalog that combine with singer-guitarist Jules Frank’s coarse crooning that can channel Glenn Danzig and shift to a clean falsetto in a matter of moments. Amid the displaced ditties from decades past and public domain horror movie interludes, The Pukes are at their best in reprisals of previously-released “Murder” and “Execution,” as well as “My Fault,” all of which show off the three-piece’s penchant for scuzzy surf-rock. In The Revenge Of…, The Pukes ably jump between two drastically divergent worlds and return from their travels with a bounty of fun and spirited short-form classics that have been enhanced with a liberal dash of revolting rowdiness. There’s a reason why The Pukes started out so strong, and this record can only assist their ascent.
Before The Pukes release The Revenge Of... digitally and play in support Soul Low’s album release show at Miramar Theatre this Saturday, hear the band’s infectious debut full-length now, only at Milwaukee Record.