Guardrail solidify the moniker of Diet Punk in “Yikes” EP (review)

When Guardrail was presented to me, I did the usual social media checkout and realized that I had more than a dozen of old friends follow the “Diet Punk” band. At first, I was perplexed by that branding, but after listening to one song, it makes total sense and you’ll see why. These hometown heroes have been at it for half a decade, and are unleashing their third EP, Yikes, into the world this Friday.

Diet Punk. What a compelling genre name, huh? Well, Guardrail exemplifies it! While it’s evident that the band is on the boundaries of punk with bombastic riffs, fast-paced drums, and shouty in-your-face vocals, it’d be unfair to lump them into that niche, as they present other characteristics beyond the usual tropes.

Take EP opener “Really?”, which switches between major and minor key on a whim. Meta lyrics “I just wanna say meaningful things, but I don’t know how to say meaningful things” are good for some chuckles. Plus, the consistent vulgarity adds a layer of personality to the tone of Yikes.

Imagine my surprise seeing one of my favorite vocalists, Garret Rapp (The Color Morale), is on track 3, “Shipwrecked.” Hearing him enter the same thematic lyricism he mastered in his band’s career only makes me want his band back more, but that desire is furthered by the band’s backing performance in this piece. It’s a Chicagoland treat to hear a resounding song like this.

Yikes was successfully funded via IndieGogo, and the band announced that a portion of the EP’s sales will go to the Milwaukee Freedom Fund. It’s wonderful to see a band use crowdfunded money wisely – not just creating a record for profit, but celebrating the release with a profound cause.

Guardrail is familiar, yet fresh, on Yikes. It’s clear the musicians had a blast recording it, and it’s just as entertaining of a listen. Nothing ground-shaking here, but worth a perusal nonetheless. A sweet 17 minutes of your day, Yikes makes me proud that my scene is still alive and well.

Rating: 8/10

A press copy of Yikes was provided courtesy of Big Picture Media.