Having established their presence on the UK scene with debut EP "Portraits" and later, their first full length album; "Mothers Ruin", Burton-On-Trent's Max Raptor have found themselves in very good company of late, having signed to Hassle Records, the unofficial home of all things alt. / post-punk. With labelmates including Alkaline Trio and many other big names, the 4-piece set up in Brighton Electric Studios with producer Jag Jago to record their new EP; "Damage Appreciation"...has the big move been justifed or have Max Raptor bitten off more than they can chew?
We start off with the title track and the sound is a rough and rugged one...there are nods to the heydays of working class British punk's heritage, with subtle melodic undertones hinting at the likes of The Buzzcocks too which blend very well, while vocally and sharp in places lyrically, it sounds not unlike Kaiser Chiefs, albeit grittier. Following on immediately from that, "Population", being somewhat harder and more aggressive, it's got shades of Frank Carter at its core and utilizes some bold gang-vocals, giving the listener a feeling of unity with the band, again, using the working class roots at the heart of punk to their full advantage, no doubt a hit live.
"Blue On Red" is a great American/UK crossover track with yet another fantastically addictive chorus. In it's own way its so very typically British while also paying homage to the likes of The Draft, and while the combination of styles is hardly a new concept creatively, it's no less than mastered here; a genuine modern punk anthem in the making...before finally, we finish up on "See Me Through".The fourth and final track, whilst retaining a certain level of grit and underdog determination, also carries with it a subtle tenderness and, even a sense of melancholic longing...like their predecessors before them...simply looking for their place in society, looking to belong and its a beautifully fitting finale.
Going on the tracks on offer here, it's safe to suggest we've already found a place for Max Raptor...at the very top of the pile. Quite arguably one of the UK's finest young post-punk bands and easily potential heirs to their somewhat ironic throne...appreciate the damage...there's a bright future for this lot.