From the fiery pits of Tempe Arizona comes “Vita Mors,” the first full-length album from The Venomous Pinks!
The punk rock trio first started getting attention with their 2014 release, “Exes and Whoas.” Since then, they have been touring nearly non-stop with multiple heavyweights like Bad Religion, Bouncing Souls, and Lagwagon, and they are currently on a tour of the East Coast supporting Dead Kennedys and Nekromantix. But don’t feel left out West Coast, they just announced a fall lineup to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Queers, with stops at the Observatory in Santa Ana and The Echo in Los Angeles.
Released earlier this month, “Vita Mors” (Latin for life and death) is 10 songs of punk sing-alongs pitted against rip-roaring guitar shredding. A complaint I continually have with albums – and live shows in general – is a complete absence of bass. Too often the focus is set up on guitars so that it drowns out any other instrument. Fortunately, that is not the case here as bassist and vocalist, Gaby Kaos’ bass lines shine on “Vita Mors,” none more so in my opinion than on the opening to the album’s second single, “Broken Hearts Club.” It’s this groovy fingering that sets up the mood for the entire song, which leads right into some impressive guitar slinging by guitarist and vocalist, Drea Doll. The way Kaos and Doll bounce both instrumentally and vocally off each other can only be achieved by the kind of chemistry and experience established over the years since the band’s start.
“No Rules,” the album’s lead single, is a biting song with hard edge dealing with the dichotomy of wanting and missing someone, while realizing they are also pretty toxic and a liar (“All the lies you’ve told to my face,” “Missing you while I go through withdrawals”). “I Really Don’t Care” was originally released on their “I Want You” EP from last year. However, the improved production on this latest release is immediately apparent thanks to famed producer and engineer, Cameron Webb.
Webb’s impressive credits include Motörhead, NOFX, Sum 41, and even Kelly Clarkson. It doesn’t hurt that Linh Le of Bad Cop/Bad Cop provides backing vocals on “I Really Don’t Care,” and also served as one of the co-producers on the album. The song seems to be about dealing with the negativity from a spiteful ex and turning that around into a source of enablement and moving on as Kaos proudly sings, “You say that I only care about myself, well I guess so!”
“We Do It Better” was originally featured on their 2017 EP of the same name, but was made “better” (pun intended) by improving production, again thanks to Webb and Le, and adding vocals from Brenna Red of The Last Gang.
The song sings about empowerment and fighting against the patriarchy while waving a middle finger and shouting, “We can do anything better than you!” “Todos Unidos,” one of the last songs on the album, features some of the growling vocals from Doll we’ve seen on some of the Pinks’ previous albums.
The hard-hitting song features an equally high-charged verse from Death by Stereo’s Efrem Schulz, while supported by a frenzied drumbeat thanks to Cassie Jalilie. Formerly of Union 13 fame, Jalilie is the newest member of the group, but has wasted no time in fitting right in, while making her own unique mark. The album’s closing track is aptly titled “We Must Prevail.” With “Vita Mors” it sounds like that’s exactly what The Venomous Pinks intend to do.