When the "Do You Wanna Walk With Me?" 7" came out in 2013, I thought it was by far the band's strongest single yet. Then "No Expectation" proved to be even better. Now "Brand New Kid" comes along and raises the bar another notch higher! The story is that Fink was so energized by playing a Teengenerate reunion that it inspired him to start writing punchier material for The Raydios. And if that was his intention, this single proves he fully succeeded! While not quite the lo-fi trash of Teengenerate, "Brand New Kid" is certainly the hardest-hitting track I've heard yet from The Raydios. The guitars are raw and absolutely ripping, and who doesn't love to hear Fink shout like he really means it?! And hidden behind those scorching leads and exuberantly shouted backing vocals is a melody you can whistle all the way home. Top notch! This is the kind of tune that we've come to expect from The Raydios: straight-up rockin' punk with quality hooks. But while "Brand New Kid" doesn't re-invent this band, it begins to wipe away the notion that The Raydios are merely the next best thing to a full-on Teengenerate re-boot.
On the flip, "My Way Back Home" opts for a pummeling slow burn a la the Dictators or Stooges. Monster riffs meet angular lead work in a way you could describe as uniquely Raydios-ish. And once that sing-along part arrives, it's pretty much impossible to avoid joining in. All in all, an ace B-side!
A co-release between Slovenly Recordings and Tokyo's Mangrove Records, "Brand New Kid" is another opportunity for those of us outside the Japanese market to score some Raydios vinyl. And if you haven't bought a Raydios release in recent years, this is definitely the one to get!