When Sub Pop released the quarter-century-in-the-making third installment of their storied compilation series on Record Store Day 2013, the one group of the 10 various artists featured on the limited edition color vinyl LP (named “Sub Pop 1000”) that stood head and shoulders above the rest was Detroit’s Protomartyr.
Not since the heyday of the explosive garage rock revival of the late ‘90s/early ‘00s, which bred the likes of The White Stripes and The Dirtbombs, has there been a more buzzed-about band on the Motor City music scene. And on their sophomore full-length and debut title on the Sub Pop sister label Hardly Art, the combination of singer Joe Casey, guitarist Greg Ahee, bassist Scott Davidson, and drummer Alex Leonard mark their official arrival on the national stage.
With a sound perfectly evoking the rabidity of the feral canine portrayed on its cover art, “Under Color of Official Right” sees the quartet growing in leaps and bounds from the punk-fueled promise of their 2012 debut “No Passion All Technique” on key tracks like “Maidenhead,” “Bad Advice,” and “Scum, Rise!” as Protomartyr bring their high octane fusion of hometown heroes The Stooges’ shrapnel sharp growl and their common love for such Factory Records idols as Joy Division and A Certain Ratio to a rapid boil that aims to scorch the listener right through their little white ear buds.
But then again, if you are listening to this cherry bomb of an album on just a measly iPod, you’re never going to get the full scale experience of “Under Color of Official Right” the way you would as it was meant to be played: at full blast on high-quality stereo speakers inside of a s—tty old car going too fast for its own good.
Protomartyr ‘Under Color of Official Right’ Rating: W W W W W