San Francisco has given us a lot of excellent post-punk over the years. One of the better recent ones was RANK/XEROX, who delivered ultra-nervy, abrasive post-punk and shared the stage with visionaries and friends Grass Widow. Vocalist and guitarist David West decided to go in a softer and poppier direction with RAT COLUMNS, channeling the dreamy/scratchy indie pop of UK greats like 14 Iced Bears and their ilk in 2012’s solid Sceptre Hole. This year’s Leaf – out now on Australia’s RIP SOCIETY (from where West hails) – is a step into brighter pop territory. West’s vocal delivery is equal parts cool, shy, and wistful, even when he’s singing “I’m going straight to hell” over the blinding and propulsive jangle-pop of opening track “Straight to Hell.” The recording recalls the crisp production of ’77 New York punk, and the song itself could situate itself very well within that landscape. It’s a fast number, blazing through while simultaneously soothing the burn.
Stream the whole album at their bandcamp!