Warm Bodies is a crazy free jazz weirdo punk band featuring multiple familiar faces of the Kansas City scene. The band is led by singer Olivia Gibb who is known well locally for her art and graphic design. She is backed by Ian Teeple on guitar, Jordan Carr on bass, and Gabe Coppage on drums.
This Kansas City punk phenomenon has quickly become one of my very favorite punk bands in the world. Are Warm Bodies my favorite current hardcore punk band? If they don’t hold the title outright they are very near the top of the heap. Something about what they do just appeals perfectly to my sensibilities.
Warm Bodies play a deranged flavor of punk rock n’ roll, with a heavy-handed emphasis on rock… It’s consistently disoriented, rarely adhering to a song structure or style that’s easy to follow, and instead centering itself on the decisively reverbed female vocals, and dynamic bass and guitar work that provide a captivating listening experience no matter which instrument you chose to focus on.
The distinct chromaticism, strangling, and noodling from the guitarist’s chords contrasts the incredibly controlled basslines, and creates this sort of necessary balance: for music that generally sounds as if it’s falling apart, there’s such an undeniable aura of deliberateness that displays how talented the group is to achieve that sort of a calculated texture. Despite their unpredictable nature, there’s still plenty of punk qualities present that makes their music easy to appreciate. Combine that with the anxious temper and tightly-wound drum work, and you’ve got a LP full of compositions that are bound to electrify your senses through and through.
They are undeniably a hardcore band, but when you look in their music for all of the things that hardcore bands typically do you’ll find very, very few of those things. In that respect, Warm Bodies recall a subspecies of “weird hardcore” that doesn’t get much attention these days. I’m thinking of spastic, borderline funky bands like Th’Inbred, the early Meat Puppets, and (to a lesser extent) Rhythm Pigs and NoMeansNo. By and large, the aforementioned bands’ records haven’t aged particularly well, and I’d honestly be surprised if anyone in Warm Bodies had even heard of those bands (much less tried to emulate them), but at the same time Warm Bodies seem to be tapping into this tradition of musically ambitious freak punk that I never even really put together as a genre in my head before.
Warm Bodies sound unrestrained and wild, like a lot of the Lumpy Records and Total Punk-type bands that they’re typically associated with. In other words, Warm Bodies are a treat for both the brain and the gut in equal measure, and the ability to balance those two things so things so expertly is as rare a quality as you’re going to find in punk rock. Buy everything this band has ever done (and probably will do!), including this LP. If your musical tastes resemble mine at all, you won’t be disappointed.
I can’t just emulate Tim Yohannan’s review of the first Die Kreuzen LP where he just writes “This is fucking great!” over and over again, even if that would probably be the most appropriate response to this little bottle of lightning. So just ignore whatever I just wrote and buy this thing. Highest possible recommendation.
Words by Daniel Lupton (Sorry State) and the #1 punk connoisseur Jimmy.