White Fang // Chunks
Recommended Track(s): Shit On My Shoe
White Fang has been active for six years now, occupying their time by continually releasing music and opening a spin-off Burger Records in Highland Park under the name of Gnar Burger. They’ve also arguably been at the forefront of “Pizza Punk”, which isn’t really a movement or a sound so much as a dis towards bands given the title. “Serious Artists” would have us believe that in order to be valuable, punk rock has to be socially conscious. But if they’re going to take the high road, they’ll have to make numerous concessions to the bands they hold on high. Even hipster beloved Joy Division had a probably unhealthy preoccupation with Nazi tropes and imagery, even if they were very attractive and sad.
White Fang’s new album Chunks is not music for navel-gazing. Most of their songs are about activities or emotions you felt as a seventeen or eighteen year old. Album opener “Full Time Freaks” begins with a Scottish brogue asserting that White Fang created punk, but the song that follows is a psychedelic post-punk mantra. “Get Wrecked” is like the Beastie Boys spliced with Dead Milkmen. There are no songs that aren’t a little bit tongue-in-cheek, but “4 Track Mind” indicates the band has a softer side. It isn’t always White Fang’s intention to glorify their wasted lifestyle. Their more sober songs exemplify pensiveness and depression. They’re aware that all parties eventually end.
“Tear It Up” is a heartfelt homage to foregoing scholastic activities in favor of extreme sports and burrito eating. This song achieves its true purpose even better than Motörhead’s best work because it is specifically and unapologetically geared towards fifteen-year-olds. “Wander” is White Fang going for a more sensitive approach, which still comes off as prepubescent. It uses the classic punk trope of not caring about shit as a platform, but White Fang is far too productive for me to believe that they’re nihilists. This, like all of their songs, takes an immature view of the world when things go wrong. It’s followed by Uncle Funkle’s joyous tune, “I Love School”. Immediately, teenage angst is dispelled.
“Turning Square” is White Fang’s send up of “A Well Respected Man”, a dig at a friend who’s gotten his shit together and “cut his hair like it was never even there”. White Fang show themselves in their worst light when they demonstrate an aversion to growing older. The song probably stems from anger over losing an old friend, but comes across as judgment against someone just because they don’t shit themselves every other month. Album closer, “Shit On My Shoe”, is a beautifully scatological meditation on nostalgia for youth and the negative impression that experiences can leave on you. White Fang manages to get this across while saying “shit”, like, 23 times. Chunks shows White Fang facing some of the ramifications of being a party band for as long as they have been, and the ghostly microphone feedback that is the last sound on the album seems to suggest that it was all just a dream.