Having written about the band several times since their reformation in 2020, and interviewing both the original lead singer and song writer, Jesse Lyn-Dean, and his guitarist, Martin Hope, reviewing Punk Prayer was a task I undertook with enthusiasm.
The CD is the follow up (although delayed by some 40 years) to The Wasp’s 1976 album, Punkryonics Plus, an album that brought the band considerable success.
Described as one of the best bands to emerge from the original British punk explosion, the band launched their latest offering with a mini tour in June 2022, which took in several dates in Spain, Portugal and the UK, including the celebrated Water Rats venue, located in the increasingly vibey music scene of Kings Cross.
The first thing that struck me about the new disc was that it captured the energetic feel of their live performances, something that is often lacking in the recordings of good live bands. Another plus is the fact that Jesse Lyn-Dean’s song writing ability is as good now as it was back in the day; talking of which, Punk Prayer is also available on vinyl.
The bands uniquely fresh sound captures the electric ambient of the sweaty pubs and venues of the London punk scene, a scene that The Wasps were a big part of almost half a century ago.
The band’s solid rhythm section (Kiko Álvarez on bass and Roly Quesnel on drums) and the powerful guitar work (Martin Hope and Perico) augment Jesse’s incredible vocal ability, which has attained the youthful arrogance of the movement that shocked a generation to its core during the premiership of James Callaghan.
Jesse’s songs are well structed and full of catchy, melodious choruses that cover all aspects, from jilted love (It Don’t Matter to Me/Lies), to protest songs (Don’t Kill the Planet Janet), and anti-establishment (Advertising) – all, of course, the perfect subjects for a great punk album.
With lyrics like, ‘You made me wish that I was dead, found my best friend in your bed’, and ‘If you are looking for trouble you’ve found it’, Jesse’s songs are a true reflexion of the era that created one of the most enjoyable and innovative periods in the history of rock and roll.
Jesse has mellowed over the years and no longer hurls abuse or his mike stand at his audience (well, not often), but his music still retains an anarchistic approach that gives The Wasps an incredibly unique feel.
The new disc has managed to retain the ethos of punk, while adding a breath of fresh air to bring the genre respectfully into the 21st century.
Although it will be a good opportunity for old punk rockers to enjoy a nostalgic trip to the pogo and spit era, this album will also appeal to the new generation that is currently embracing the punk movement, especially here in Spain.
Don’t leave it so long next time guys!