Not every band can cater to both mohawks and Marcel waves. But years of playing shows across the country have given the Warsaw Poland Bros plenty of time to work out the kinks, fusing punk and ska with mild undertones of pop and country.
The band’s 2008 release, First to Fight, doesn’t offer much for the blood-and-spit punkers, but there’s something here for everyone: grunge, hardcore, lots of statements on the Iraq War. Horns play off one another jazz-like, and occasional vocal harmonies lend the music a professional edge.
The Warsaw Poland Bros are comfortable in every punk sub-genre, from hardcore to pop. The unmistakable reggae beat of “Candy Store” proves their ska salt while softer afloat-in-space tunes like “Superfaded” and “I’ll See You In the Future” create a sort of musical weightlessness. That ability to backpedal the adrenaline sets them apart from the usual skin-to-wind power punk that haunts dive-bar shows.
First to Fight rocks steadily for much of its 17-track span, but slaps listeners in the face with an unexpected depth of emotion and musical talent on “Percosex.” The heartfelt rock croon seems to contradict the entire album’s brass-happy foundation, a sudden step in a new direction. Just as quickly, it’s gone, leaving your finger hovering over the “rewind” button. (Alex Sakariassen)
Warsaw Poland Bros play the Badlander Wednesday, Jan. 21, at 9 PM. $5.