Some long time readers might remember that my 2015 album of the year was The Anachronist's Cookbook by Will Tun And The Wasters. Since then the band have had a bit of a line up change and now go by the name And The Wasters. On March 12th the band released a brand new EP named State Of Repair and after enjoying the previous release so much I was pretty excited to hear this.
The EP begins with the track Lion's Share, that the band have also made a video for - check it out here. Something that I really loved about Anachronist's Cookbook was the sense of not really knowing what was going to happen next on the record as the band incorporate so many different styles into their sound. Whether it's punk, ska, folk, reggae, gypsy, rap or even throwing in some French, it was always hard to prepare for whatever could be coming next with the band. Lion's Share takes the ska energy that will get you dancing and adds some great accordion playing that really gives And The Wasters a sound all of their own. The track talks about how the people who already have the most seem to continue to get the lion's share of everything else. I really enjoyed the breakdown section which features mostly trumpet and vocals that serve as a rallying cry for the people who go without to start getting back what's fair. The second track is named Small Victories. The first thing I noticed about the song was that it features a different vocalist to Lion's Share. The fact that the vocal duties are shared around the band add to that sense of "what's going to happen next" that I love so much about this band. Musically it's not quite as upbeat as Lion's Share but there are still plenty of great skanking moments. The track is about how despite all of the hardship that goes on in the world there is a small victory to be had by knowing you've got a small community of people who believe in the same principles as yourself. I really like this positive outlook.
The third track on State Of Repair is titled Reduce, Reuse, Rebel. The song is a very accordion heavy sounding track, something that differentiates And The Waster brilliantly from many of their peers. The element of ska is still very present though and the song will have you skanking along despite the lack of horns during the bulk of the song. I loved that the bulk of the song focussed on the music rather than the lyrics, showing off the high level skill that is featured in the band. Reduce, Reuse, Rebel is a song about how society as a whole rarely uses things again when they quite easily could. Something I'm sure many of us are often guilty of. There is a nice chanty section of lyrics with the simple lines "Capitalism Is Killing Us All" which will get some great crowd participation at an And The Wasters live show. The penultimate song is named Bound As One. Bound As One is a much slower track than the previous three on the EP. This gives the song more of a serious feel to it, despite using the slew of instruments that have featured throughout the EP. Vocally it's a lot more understated too, really making you listen to the message of the track rather than just making you dance. State Of Repair is finished with a track named Intro Dub. Finished with a track named Intro you say? Yup, confused me too! It's a two minute instrumental song that allows And The Wasters to venture down a reggae road, showcasing another string to their bow. I'm not normally big on instrumental songs but this is one I can listen to over and over again without getting bored. A great way to finish the EP.
State Of Repair picks up right where Anachronist's Cookbook finished off. Despite all the line up changes, And The Wasters remain a top top quality band and one that deserve all of your attention.
Stream and download State Of Repair here: https://andthewasters.bandcamp.com/album/state-of-repair-and-the-wasters
Like And The Wasters here: https://www.facebook.com/willtunandthewasters/
This review was written by Colin Clark.