Back in the OH-3, my old band On Thin Ice would occasionally cover Breakdowns March Of The White Trash and rip right into Sick People. It was fun, the crew would get a little nuts and shenanigans would often occur. Ryan from Tear It Up was studying over here at the time and would get wasted and join us on stage whereupon he would take the mic and proceed to “rap” over the intro and talk some shit. This piece of nonsense was dubbed Chill Factor, it only happened a couple of times but it was funny and stupid and we had some laughs. Franklin eventually hijacked the idea and Chill Factor became a NYHC influenced “party band” in it’s own right, though the joke wore thin kinda quick. Mostly because , as is often the case with bands of this sort, their abilities didn’t match their enthusiasm.
After hearing a fair bit of messageboard chatter, I kinda expected Cardiffs Wardogs to be the Welsh version of Chill Factor, all the chirp and lip service but no ability or chops and just Jockin’ Out. Wrong again idiot. This tape is so on the money it’s retarded. Everything about these 5 songs sounds legit. Vocalist Joe Latham sounds like a total fucking guido, (albeit with a welsh twang), like if Tommy Carroll came from the Valleys or something. The kid clearly loves the alleyway classics and there’s a lotta nice vocal nods to the likes of Straight Ahead, Side By Side and early Warzone. If you don’t know your history and are looking for a more modern comparison, think Iron Boots, Get Real or maybe some of the Lockin’ Out bands like Crunch Time. I’m a sucker for detail and Wardogs have nailed it with a scholars ear.
The Songs are short, simple and straight to the point..although the the guitarist slips in some tasty little leads here and there. None of this sounds forced or laboured, just some dudes playing the music they love. I can get down with that. Props to whoever recorded this... the guitar tone and production are perfect, lending the whole recording an air of legitimacy. If someone told me this was a lost demo by a band from the LES circa 1986, I would not doubt them. I understand these songs are coming out on a self released demo tape and on split with a band called Bang Bros (who I’m not familiar with), so if the classic NYHC sound is your bag you’d do well to pick up this tape. Couldn't find any Wardogs pictures or flyers or owt, don't even think the demo has a cover yet though I imagine Alex B will be invoking the spirit of Sean Taggart soon enough, so instead here's a picture of two of my own wardogs, Mister Feet and Little Lou. Recognise.
Along with The Hardway, Wardogs are the most authentic sounding NYHC inspired band I’ve heard in a good long while. A real breath of fresh air. Now, if they would just cover Panty Raid live.....