Milwaukee’s Direct Hit are back with their 1st Fat Wreck release and 3rd album Wasted Mind. Like their sophomore Brainless God, Wasted Mind is a loosely themed pop-punk concept album, this time dealing with drugs, alcohol, and chemically altering the brain.
Musically, this is Direct Hit’s poppiest and arguably most accessible album for a larger audience to date. The songs are oozing with harmonies and catchy melodic hooks. It’s incredibly solid pop-punk, and Direct Hit is one of the best pop-punk bands around these days, however fans looking for something more heavier hitting like Domesplitter or their early EPs may be disappointed. The outstanding and incredibly catchy “Forced To Sleep” could easily be mistaken for an earlier Blink-182 song, and even the heavier songs like Paid In Brains breaks into a very radio friendly chorus. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, Direct Hit still manages to make the songs incredibly solid and it’s very clearly still Direct Hit (especially closer Do The Sick, which could have easily come off of Brainless God).
Like the subject matter, Direct Hit also experiments a bit on Wasted Mind, incorporating a variety of instruments (or one multi-functional keyboard). With songs featuring a piano, horns, and an xylophone, they definitely explore some uncharted territory for the band.
Like I stated earlier, the lyrics are about altered minds, and they paint it in both a positive and negative light. “Was It The Acid” details a sort of fun acid love song and trip, while Villain Alcohol takes a more somber and serious tone tackling the struggle of watching a loved one succumb to addiction. With it’s lyrics:
“I can’t remember when I last saw you
when you weren’t drunk or high”
“I don’t want to tell you that you’re fine
I don’t wanna tell you everything’s great
It’s not, it’s fucked”
Direct Hit once again manages to write deeper lyrics when you’d last expect it. Even one of my personal favorite song on the album “Do The Sick”, almost takes on a deeper meaning. The lyrics remind me a bit of a show and how that can be a form of an altered state of mind. While I doubt that was the intention, it’s still pretty cool nonetheless.
Wasted Mind is definitely a solid pop-punk album, even if it was a grower for me. At first I was turned off by the poppiness of it (although when I heard the songs live they were much rougher around the edges which I liked), as I’m a sucker for heavier melodic punk (sidenote: their now defunct side project Galactic Cannibal was one of my favorites). But after giving it a few listens there really are some incredible gems on here. Direct Hit was able to experiment and make a more accessible sound without completely isolating their already existing fan base. Give this one a listen if you dig pop-punk, they’re one of my favorite pop-punk bands around.