David Alpha: Chameleon Wheelhouse EP Review: Punk Lives!

Punk will never die! At least not in the heart of David Alpha, whose latest EP seeks to electrify with the aesthetic of retro punk rock. Chameleon Wheelhouse continues the mean streak of Sacrilege and other tracks on his Rockin Roulette sampler from last year. The punk rock flavor will make you headbang and scream along with David Alpha on the high points of the EP, of which there are many. The main thing Chameleon Wheelhouse does right is that it keeps true to the David Alpha sound. While that isn’t normally a problem, there is definitely some experimentation going on in this EP.

The first track Light The Rockets/Hungry Host brings you into the EP kicking and screaming. The gritty aesthetic of the track oozes old school punk rock flavor with instrumentals to back it up. The guitar riffs are chaotic and assault you on one front while the bass guides you through the track to an acoustic breakdown. The breakdown and onward make the track the most dynamic on the EP, as the song transforms into an acoustic anthem led out by a haunting refrain of “should we forgive you or not.” The track that follows, Universalon, is a more traditional punk song with a composition akin to Sacrilege. The song has a catchy guitar riff that goes throughout the track, once again allowing the bass and percussion to take the reigns. It’s delightfully in your face with lyrics such as “We can rip the skirt from the scars of history” and “autograph my pistol shot” delivered with David Alpha’s signature punk rock shouts.

These two tracks make the next one, Wake up Gloria, a bit of an odd one out. It is the black sheep in the EP with not only a switch to acoustic guitar but into a more haunting or spooky aesthetic. 

The choice of tone in the song is questionable when delivered with the signature vocals of Alpha, with background vocals that at some times overpower the lead. This comes to a head when they overpower it so much with moans and wails that it becomes almost comical. Though there are some witty lines, such as when he talks about “lol” ing away our brains instead of waking the dead, or giving social commentary on “bobble-head people. The track though is a bit too out there for its own good. Me or Him ends the EP with another groovy bassline and chaotic guitar riffs. The track makes excellent use of the flanger to give the guitar a unique personality to differentiate it from the rest of the album. By the second listen, you will be screaming “down like a punk in wasteland” too.

Chameleon Wheelhouse is a great EP with very high highs. The David Alpha punk rock flavor oozes from every track, for better or worse, and seems to only get better with age. Each track has its own personality even while wearing the aesthetic on the sleeve, which makes the EP’s first listen a great one. The real show stealer, however, is the bass lines on the EP. Nearly every track has a bass groove that isn’t easy to ignore yet never overpowers the track which puts a neat bow onto a gritty package. These elements make Chameleon Wheelhouse a for-sure listen for the thirsty punk rocker.

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