Research Reactor Corp.

Reviews

Prison Affair / Research Reactor Corp. split EP

Frantic collision of energetic scrambled egg-punk from these two bands. First up is RESEARCH REACTOR CORP., who sound like mad scientists in the middle of an experiment going terribly wrong. I like their garage-punk-meets-oscillator terror sound and their teenage basement songwriting aesthetic. This sounds like a neon poster collection and a stack of fourth generation VHS sci-fi dubs on shag carpet. There is some definite CONEHEADS influence, although the vocals are harsher and howled over the tight, trebly arrangements. And “Human to Raisin” is a great song title. So the first side is a winner. Side Two features Spain’s PRISON AFFAIR, who also rule, but in a totally different way. These three songs are super-melodic jammers that sound like trashy ’50s rock’n’roll sped up with drum machines. Each track has constant guitar leads and catchy melodies for days. “Encerrado Contigo” is a blast of high-volume, nostalgia-inducing pop that sounds like the best parts of being a teenager. It’s so good. These are the kinds of splits I like: two bands who don’t necessarily sound that similar but fit together in spirit. Definitely a fun listen.

Research Reactor Corp. Live! at Future Techlabs LP

This album is taken from a December 2020 live stream. It is a frantic, heart-racing performance of skronky, blitzed-out keyboard punk. SCREAMERS worship on full alert. The set list features a bunch of songs from their cassettes (also compiled on the excellent LP from last year, The Collected Findings of the Research Reactor Corporation). Wildly fun. I wish I was there.

The Freakees / Research Reactor Corp. split EP

Goodbye Boozy seems to be cranking out these split 7”s lately. While I’m not generally a fan of the format, I think they could have done worse with this pairing. The A-side is two quick tracks from Sydney-based torch bearers of the NWI sound, RESEARCH REACTOR CORPORATION. And they are just excellent. RCC takes the CONEHEADS’ herky-jerk formula, adds some cartoonishness and menace, and leans a little more into that warbly direct-to-VHS-sounding production. I love it. The FREAKEES, out of L.A., give us two tracks of blown-out, bass-heavy garage punk that skews a bit more punk than garage. It reminds me of the band SCRAPER. Though, instead of deadpan, talk-shout vocals, you get an ear-splitting screech that’s reverbed to hell. I think these are pretty great tracks, but I found the vocals a tad much at times. But FREAKEES gotta freak, I guess!

Research Reactor Corp. The Collected Findings of the Research Reactor Corporation LP

It’s a head scratcher that this group that sets battery acid in your veins is actually from Australia and not American flyover country. This is a compilation of previously released cassette tapes with an unabashedly egg-punk composition. R.R.C. plays rock’n’roll standards with a GEZA-X-like sneer characterized by herky-jerky interplay, a synthesizer setting down a catchy hook and dog-bark vocals somewhere between UROCHROMES and HANK WOOD on top. Nth wave of skrunky, Adderall-eyed DEVO-worship.