Punk was essentially a British phenomenon that America embraced wholeheartedly; so much so in fact that it’s managed to endure across the pond much more than it ever did here. Whilst bands such as The Ramones remained ever faithful to the ramshackle punk sound, others, such as Husker Du, Black Flag, Sum 41 and Green Day have added their own American take on this genre, some for better, some most definitely for worse.
So to be a New York punk band these days must be difficult, it’s a crowded place to stake a claim but female-fronted four piece The Choke seem undaunted. Their new single ‘Tuff Kids’ is on offer here. It’s a bouncy, power chord ride that sounds like punk mixed with a dollop of country and western. It’s very American. No British band could produce something so sassy, and yes I’m afraid to say, so overly cheesy, without at least some irony involved somewhere. But I don’t think The Choke are joking.
It’s the kind of song you’d blast out of a corvette whilst driving down Route 66, or better still a truck whilst wearing a silly hat and talking into a CB radio. Going by this song alone, it sounds more like the band come from the Deep South rather than the sprawling New York State and this tune has cliché written all over it.
Still, what is punk if it’s not to a degree about cliché – or more accurately – formula. There’s no denying this song is a powerful punch of heavy riffs and shouty choruses. It grows in appeal rapidly. Go on, listen to it ten times and tell me you still hate it. The addictive, stomping riffs might be walking a well worn path but they bores away at cynicism with such success it’s impossible not to end up enjoying the ride. And I hate them for it.
'Tuff Kids' is taken from The Choke's self titled LP which came out last year.