main grainsNever paid The Wildhearts much attention so the fact The Main Grains bassist and mainman Danny McCormack played in ‘em didn’t mean much to me. A couple of spins of his new band’s debut EP on CD, however, made me a believer.

The Main Grains formed in Newcastle-0n-Tyne, Northern England, in 2015 and occupy the same punk rock-pop territory as The Wildhearts. They bring a bunch of songs to this EP that are catchier than a heavy cold in what passes for an English summer. 

The bio will tell you the band is McCormack and guitarists JJ Watt (Spill 16/Whiskey Haze) and Ben Marsden (Modern Day Dukes), and drummer Ginna Rhodes (Psychobabylon/Phluid), and that they fuse the sounds of the Ramones, The Wildhearts, Yo-Yo's and Blondie. They call it Northern Punk.

It’s not bright and breezy in the sense of much of the music going under the name of pop-punk. The rhythms are chunky with a big bottom-end sound. It’s music with blue collar muscle and a pair of working boots on its feet.

“I’d Rather Be In California” sounds like a bona fide mainstream radio hit if radio wasn’t a medium dominated by mediocrity and tastemakers with shit between their ears. A hooky chorus and supersonic guitars with that time-honoured trick of a surf chorus at just the right time.

There’s a propulsive cover of “Teenage Kicks” (aka John Peel’s Favourite Song”) that kicks most others to the kerb. “She’s a Catch” is unadulterated Ramonesque joy with a couple chords to go. Some nifty guitar manoeuvres turn the tune inside out in the middle and will make you sit up and listen. The other four songs aren’t half bad either.

“We’re Happy Round Here” might be ironic (I’m not sure but last time I was in Northern England the beaches weren’t so good) and there’s no faulting the economic solo that cuts through the middle. while “Spend Your Money” grimy attacks consumerism with some more fiery Watt and Marsden fretwork and a fine, driving feel.


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