[new sampshire] Album review: Billy Raygun S/T

Album art by Billy Raygun frontman Zac Mayeux

BILLY RAYGUN has been New Hampshire's pop punk heroes for years.  It's pretty amazing, considering that lead singer Zac Mayeux started this band when he was 13. He's well over 18 now, so that means he's old enough that I should be the last one to ever mention his age in relation to his music career. Good. Got that out of the way.

After releases on several splits, EPs, and comp discs, Billy Raygun finally went for a full-length effort, and took a different turn in the songwriting process as well.  Unlike their power anthem hit singles "Killjoy" and "Ashheap," the guitars get grittier and the chord progressions get more dissonant, very reminiscent of the angriest and fastest tracks from Green Day's Nimrod. This is also their first album recorded with Jay The Milky of Project Sound in Haverhill, who is responsible for recording Boston punk bands Witches with Dicks and The Credentials, some of Mayeux's biggest influences. This may have had an influence on the change in sound, but more likely, it was life changes among the band, as explained by the lyrics sheet. Lines like "I wish that you could be lonely just like me" and "I'm only 3,000 miles away from drowning myself in Crater Lake" show that Billy Raygun has departed from their adolescent desperation and reached a more outwardly aggresive form self-loathing, a la Jesse Lacey or even Adam Lazzara. I never thought I would say that an album that from the 21st century that sounded a lot like Green Day with '90s pop emo lyrics was actually good, but I guess there's a first time for everything.  Billy Raygun totally rips.

The band begins their month-long tour at the Dover Brickhouse in Dover, NH tonight and will eventually end up in Boston on July 15th, location TBA.

Buy the CD at John Wilkes Booth Records, or stay updated for the arrival of vinyl LPs.

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