Whiskey Warfare’s Make Punk Dangerous Again is a foolhardy but admirable promise. How could anyone possibly make a 40-year institution edgy again? These guys, of course, don’t do it but they DO possibly give another reason for punk’s continued relevance. Make Punk Dangerous Again is a loose concept album about how horrifically shitty America has gotten as of late, which let’s be real is a good excuse as any to scream your voice hoarse. Every song on here sounds like it’s on the verge of alcohol poisoning. Drinking, homelessness, and utter disillusionment over the status quo is so prevalent that you can’t help but feel the whole thing is being delivered by that guy on the metro whose made you more than a little uncomfortable.
Whiskey Warfare are Trump hating, punk rockers from South Carolina, who have had enough of society’s hypocrisy. It should be said that they play their roles extremely well! By the end, you’ll really believe that they are indeed destitute. The musicianship is so shabby and abrasive that there is no way that their intentions are anything but pure. They also effectively smash together the fun loving-hook filled characteristics of skate punk with the harsh, no bullshit production values of hardcore. It’s not easy to be catchy and be taken seriously but these guys ALMOST get away with it. To top it all off, lead singer Danny Causey sounds like a chihuahua in heat getting choked out. He is the ideal spokesman for this subject matter whether you like it or not.
Now as much as I’m willing to go to bat for Mr. Causey, he, unfortunately, sometimes overdoes it to the point of near parody. Every now and then I can’t help but feel like he’s only play-pretending the role of a loose cannon/punk singer. On “Downtown Drunks,” he plays the part of an ever-hopeful homeless man with this high-pitched scream that is so unintentionally goofy, it sounds a little bit like a Gremlin getting sucked up into a blender. That said there are moments where you really feel his anger boiling over. Take the brutal “Homeless Nonsense,” where he bluntly howls “And I’m still baffled how this country’s gone to shit/It’s just a product of the asshole ruining it.” What self-respecting human being hasn’t felt such intense feelings like that over the past two years?
The production values are sadly also somewhat left to be desired. I know, I know, this is punk and it’s not supposed to be even remotely polished. I just think a little bit more care would have been welcome. There are some powerful sentiments here that would have definitely benefitted from a much better mix. Drummer Mike Prather Jr., for example, sounds like he playing on a plastic bucket on the verge of collapse. Arguably this precariousness fits with the whole derelict motif that these guys are going for. It’s just that sometimes Prather is so freaking tinny I wish someone would at least bring him a metal trash can or something!
So, no, Whiskey Warfare do not fulfill their promise, nor do they make a great album BUT their ambitiousness, sense of style and songwriting skills should be admired. Their debut EP is also only thirteen minutes, so if you need a quick adrenaline rush and something that reflects your disbelief in how low the human race has sunk, then this might do the trick. Punk might not be dangerous but the world we live in sure as hell is.
Written by Shawn Thicke
*edited by Danielle Kenedy