by Wes Muilenburg
Scrunchies is the punk supergroup that Minneapolis deserves. Consisting of members of Double Grave, Tony Peachka, and Kitten Forever (all great in their own right), the band’s debut, Stunner, is a self-contained wildfire of punk energy. Each song evokes a classic riot grrrl sound without falling into any tropes. With confident, swaggering vocals and a furious rhythm section, Scrunchies invites you to a party where the only goal is to drown everything else out.
It is arguably more difficult to create something of note with pre-existing elements than it is to craft a completely new world. Scrunchies takes the puzzle pieces of punk, alt-rock, and garage rock and forms it in their own image on Stunner. Any band that is capable of thrashing back and forth from low-key indie (“Backlit”) to paprika hardcore (“Fine Grind”) to classic minimalist punk (“Double Vision”) clearly has something special.
Impressionistic lyrics – “Tongue like ribbons and your eyes like perfume,” “There’s this Hollywood around me,” “I fly into the light to die” – burst through the raucous punk energy with startling clarity. “Gradient” is a classic kiss-off, propelled by a wave of unbridled energy. The title track, while the shortest song on the record, can barely hold onto its wave of virtuous anger. Finally, it all gets let out with evocative howls and a smirk.
Stunner is simultaneously a come-on and a brash middle finger. It feels familiar, like a friend that you’ve gone dancing with for years, yet maintains a DIY freshness that offers more and more upon each re-listen. “Gradient” provides the album’s thesis, an invitation to get lost – “Launch me onto the dance floor.” It is mindful numbness and bold camaraderie wrapped into one. Structure is designed to be decimated in the world of Scrunchies, and it’s always better with friends.