Boldly declaring themselves grittier and more formidable, Wisconsin post-punk outfit Wristwatch charge back onto the scene with their eagerly anticipated sequel to their inaugural, self-named LP. Unambiguously christened “II,” this upcoming offering ventures further into the band’s multi-dimensional creative terrain than its predecessor, with a deliberate shift in tempos, atmospheres, and lyrical content — and they’ve even thrown a ballad into the mix!
A year’s worth of electrifying performances across the Midwest has been transformative for the band, with Tyler Spatz’s bass execution gaining a notable prominence, vying for attention alongside Bobby Hussy’s characteristic vocal intensity and guitar manipulation. This reflects Wristwatch’s dynamic evolution, signaling an exciting new era for the band.
Their latest offering, the blistering “Meds,” is a raucous dark post-punk dirge with hints of Buzzcocks, The Misfits, Devo, and Hüsker Dü. While “Meds” explores broader avenues of auditory experiences, it firmly remains a testament to the iconic Wristwatch style – the signature malformed backbone filled with distorted punk rock elements, punctuated by scorching guitar leads and tumultuous electronic drumming.
“We wanted to inject some deathrock and goth rock vibes into our punk sound to vary the record a bit,” says Hussy. “I’m really psyched with how it came out!
This audacious assemblage serves as the binding force that sustains the integrity of their distinct sound. The artwork for the album also pays homage to their influences.
“As a huge fan of Type O Negative, I had to make the single artwork for “Meds” harken back to Type O’s iconic aesthetic,” Hussy muses.
The formation of Wristwatch was a natural evolution of musical camaraderie, as Bobby Hussy enlisted the bass talents of frequent collaborator Tyler Spatz (known for his work with The Hussy, Cave Curse, Poney). These punk creations were born out of Hussy’s home studio, Hex Empire, during the early months of pandemic-induced isolation. Hussy was experimenting with a fresh twist on his signature catchy punk rock, building his songs on a foundation of drum machines and melodic guitar leads.
Wristwatch’s fervent debut self-titled LP hit the shelves in July 2021 under the umbrella of Philadelphia’s renowned FDH Records, also home to artists like Lost Sounds and Digital Leather. Their debut made waves in the music scene, even capturing the attention of none other than punk rock veteran Henry Rollins. During an airing of his radio show, Rollins went as far as to label Wristwatch a “cool band”, showcasing a couple of their tracks to his listeners.
Hussy called upon longtime comrades Ben Dederich, handling guitar duties, and Eric Hartz on drums to bring Wristwatch’s fiery sound to life on stage. Tyler Spatz stepped up to the plate with bass and backing vocals, while Hussy took center stage on lead vocals and guitar. This spirited quartet hit the ground running, securing coveted opening spots for punk legends Agent Orange, MDC and Bongzilla, alongside rising stars Starcrawler, Julia Shapiro of Chastity Belt fame, and Gustaf. Seeing the demand for their unique sound, Hussy’s own label No Coast (home to Thee Oh Sees, Digital Leather, Red Mass), decided to re-press Wristwatch in mid-2022.
“II” presents a multifaceted approach, embracing variety while holding fast to the debut’s pulsating energy and raw edginess. The album shines a spotlight on the band’s diverse capabilities, succinctly underlining their unique strengths. The latest offering presents an even broader array of hypnotic harmonic leads, interspersed with raw bass lines that form a compelling backdrop for catchy melodies, set against the backdrop of frenzied drum machines and wild sonic terrain. With “II,” we can expect another milestone in Hussy’s consistently evolving musical journey.
Wristwatch’s II is out July 7, 2023.
Preorder the album here.
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