Direct Hit


Decent Criminal / Direct Hit split EP

Three-song split from DECENT CRIMINAL (Santa Rosa, CA) and DIRECT HIT! (Milwaukee, WI). DIRECT HIT contributes the first song “Wasteland,” starting off with a surf-rock twang strum and someone saying “I feel like I’m skateboarding in this song,” which leads into scratchy, shouted vocals over tom-heavy drums. The song came out of pandemic lockdowns: a vision of a virtual-reality future, wondering “We’re in the wasteland / Are we even alive?” The sound is nasty and in-your-face; a confrontation. I listened back to some previous releases, and while the surf-rock thing appears, Nick Woods’ vocals, mixed with the indie pop swing of the band, makes them sound like GOOD CHARLOTTE, or some other unfortunate iteration of pop punk from that time. Not that I listened back to all their tunes, but it seems “Wasteland” takes a different approach. Speaking of indie/alt rock: DECENT CRIMINAL. “Dream” and “Time” jangle along with a tambourine and some soft “ooh”s and “aah”s and are generally catchy, though admittedly not my bag. If this is your thing, the 7” also comes with a full-length comic book, Beacon, a collaboration of Nick Woods’ dystopian writing and Walker Dubois’ illustrations. Candy pop punk fans apply within.

Direct Hit Crown of Nothing CD

Never heard of these chaps before this disc, though apparently it’s their second full-length. What it does remind me of, most muchly, is the LILLINGTONS’s Stella Sapiente record. Both bands have some pedigree as pop punkers (the LILLINGTONS a bit longer, obviously), both are “concept” albums (still a rarity in punk rock, for better or worse), and on both records, they respectively take the pop punk genre and really reshape, expand, and redefine it. Throwing in lots of (darker) new wave stylings, and a whole host of other sounds and influences. Both are really fucking good.