Van Dammes are a Finnish garage-rock band, and today we’re taking a listen to their 2019 EP Van Dammes – Risky Business. A mixture of punk, garage, and pop rock, this latest EP sounds a bit like Pinkerton-era Weezer with the fuzz cranked to 10. You’re not going to hear anything wildly unique on Risky Business, but Van Dammes have a pretty enjoyable EP on their hands.
Risky Business kicks off with its titular track, a bare bones pop punk in the same wheelhouse as a band like Screeching Weasel. Before you know it, we’re onto “I don’t like music anymore.” A bit slower and with some prominent keyboard playing, the song, like the whole EP for that matter, has a strong emphasis on melody and hooks. My favourite song on Risky Business is the closing track “tax free world.” The simplistic guitar and keyboard work leave plenty of room for the vocal melody to get stuck in your head for a day or so.
Van Dammes seem to have no trouble putting together a catchy song, but there’s really nothing on Risky Business that you haven’t heard before. Songs like “100m” or “grand slam season” sound like anything you’d hear on any given Ramones or Teenage Bottlerocket album. Had this been a full album, this might have been a bigger issue. Fortunately, the EP’s short runtime means the songs never drag on long enough for me to get truly bored with any of them, but it’s worth noting that you shouldn’t expect a ton in the way of innovation when you hit the play button.
Risky Business was a fun listen. Van Dammes have a real knack for crafting poppy tunes that still pack a punch. Sure, it wasn’t the most unique release I’ve heard before, but it’s one I’ve gone back to several times since my first listen. If you’re looking for some catchy garage rock, Van Dammes have got you covered.
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Kate Erickson