What a week for musicians called James Sullivan. We already wrote about the highly recommended In The Marigolds by Jim Nothing – a three piece recalling the heyday of Flying Nun led by James Sullivan from Christchurch (NZ). And here we have the new record by More Kicks, a powerpop/altpop three-piece led by James Sullivan from London (UK).
Punch Drunk is the second More Kicks LP. Whereas the band’s self-titled debut (2019) had a more traditional powerpop/mod sound, Punch Drunk has quite a lot in common with James Sullivan’s excellent 2021 solo album. That is, More Kicks are less easy to categorize with Punch Drunk, transcending the usual genres. The press release mentions “classic 60s garage, 70s NYC rock and roll, and jagged 90s guitar pop” as just some of the influences on this record. That sounds about right and fair chance that if you like quality guitar music that is loud and has a lot of melody, you’ll find a lot to like about Punch Drunk. What doesn’t hurt is that as a songwriter, Sullivan has been in the zone for quite some time now. Anytime he picks up an instrument, he seems to turn it into something worthwhile – or perhaps he is just really good in hiding his bad stuff?
Punch Drunk is the kind of record that should sell itself. But if you need another nudge to actually give it a chance, note that it’s co-released by two of the finest labels in powerpop and punk: Dirtnap and Stardumb Records. Do stamps of approval get better than that? I know I’m getting a copy of this one ASAP.