Since forming in 2012, Chicago post-punk band Negative Scanner have made a name for themselves in their city’s DIY music scene. With their fast-paced punk riffs combined with Rebecca Valeriano-Flores’ roaring vocals, it isn’t hard to be impressed.
Now, they’re ready to take it to the next level with their self-titled debut LP, out on July 10th on Trouble in Mind Records. Following up from their two 7” singles from 2014, the quartet take a more aggressive and perhaps darker approach with this LP. Punching straight in with the opening track “Ivy League Asshole”, Negative Scanner tell you what they’re about right off the bat. Layers of gritty guitar sounds from Flores and fellow guitarist Matt Revers come to the forefront, complemented by the tight rhythm section. Not only are Flores’ vocals showing strong influence from Siouxsie Sioux, but the band’s sound as a whole is reminiscent of the early Siouxsie and the Banshees albums. Even so, they still have their own unique flare.
After the first two tracks, the album takes a bit of a turn into the less hard-hitting opening to “Low”. With a steady bass line, accompanied by a repeated hi-hat and the odd clang of a guitar here and there, Flores chants her vocals along to the beat. It is possible that there is some influence from American trio Sleater-Kinney in this, and such influence pops up in several places over the course of the album.
As tracks speed by, you quickly start to notice that this LP is rather short. All eleven songs are over in under 30 minutes. The longest track, “Would You Rather”, clocks in at 3 minutes 14 seconds. The speed at which the album passes by matches that of the fast-paced playing from the band. These four certainly don’t mess around. They get in, say what they want to say and get out – like a punk band should. The only problem with this is that it leaves you wanting more. This LP is begging to be repeated as soon as it ends. And repeat you should.
Perhaps the strongest of the eleven tracks is the brooding “Fan vs. Wild”. This one earned itself a music video back in 2013, and seems to be popular among the band’s following. Once again, a steady bass line and chanting vocals come in, mirroring that of their earlier track “Low”. Another notable track is “Planet of Sums”. Here, the band channel their more experimental side by opening the track with the haunting ringing of guitar strings. Not only that, they end the track in a similar way, sandwiching the heavy punk-influenced track between two beautifully ghost-like sections.
In general, this self-titled LP is an exciting and fresh approach to punk. The influences run deep and are definitely evident, but Negative Scanner still manage to pull in their own style. The raw quality allows the songs to come across just as well on the album as they would live. And whilst this is a new band we’re listening to, Negative Scanner wouldn’t sound out of place next to bands like The Ramones, The Sex Pistols and of course, Siouxsie and the Banshees.
The self-titled ‘Negative Scanner’ album is out on the 10th July 2015 via Trouble in Mind Records. The full track-lising for the album is as follows…