9,579 kilometers? So what! The Nutcutters have never worried about the distance between San Diego, THE metropolis for melodic, addictive Cali punk rock and their home city of Bern, Switzerland. Catchy songs with great hook lines, drive and a compulsive sing-along factor also work in places where no palm trees grow. The proof: A Decade of Change, their third studio album. “After more than 10 years together, we’ve found our own unique sound” says guitarist Chris with conviction. “We hope that we are able to deliver a few surprises”.
With the experience of two successful albums behind them, in 2013 the Nutcutters are no longer satisfied with three or four chords within two or three minutes of music. “Our previous album Clyde was funny, sweet and sometimes touched on pop”, says Chris, looking back to 2010. “But afterwards we wanted to get to another level. The new songs widen our possibilities. They sound both darker and rockier, but are still true to our style.” The Nutcutters took all the time they needed to let A Decade of Change reach maturity, and afterwards were spoilt for choice between dozens of songs.
First we worked very intensively on our songwriting process, and then it was important to us to have a relaxed recording process,” Chris explains. “Instead of going to an expensive studio, this time we produced the album by ourselves.” The recording took a full 11 months, and then Dan Precision (Rise Against, 88 Fingers Louie, Soulscape, Break the Silence) took care of putting the final polish on chosen songs in Bombshelter Studios in Chicago.
With A Decade of Change’s very first surprise attack, the Nutcutters raise the bar: Alibis has the restless pulse of punk rock and escalates into a cleverly balanced anthem that bristles with hooks. With A Decade of Change the Nutcutters want more; that is, more of everything. More vehemence and delight in playing their music, more surprise moments and more emotional weight, more guts and guitars. That is why in their 9th year as a well-rehearsed trio consisting of Jake, Chris and Normen, they grew into a multifaceted quartet: Peter Anthony climbed aboard as second guitarist in 2011. “Having him in the band is the best thing that could have happened to us” says drummer Normen, happily.
“His influence and ideas are brilliant!” With the new line-up, the Nutcutters discovered fresh possibilities from the start. On A Decade of Change they live them out with eight hands and a strong instinct for the right dose of rock in their own brand of melodic pop-punk.
For example, On the Top gets drunk on harmony and then staggers unexpectedly into a bridge with a powerful groove. Speak the Truth goes directly into overdrive seeking the truth, as the band suddenly leaves singer Jake alone with his voice. Why? Because they know that there’s no risk involved. The man on the microphone has enough style to master the quiet moments equally as well as an addictive chorus. But sometimes things can also go very fast.
The breathless two-minute sprint, See the Money in Your Face follows only one commandment: Whoever hits the brakes loses. Notes, words and shreds of melody fly through the measures until the song skids over the finish line with a pounding bass riff. And because diversity is the key for the Nutcutters in 2013, they also include the opposite of this highly melodic franticness as part of the program. For example To Hell with You, a song which walks towards you on bowlegged riffs and underlines its unapologetic announcement with a dryly rocking soundtrack.
What you see is What You Get breaks through the five-minute barrier and explodes towards the end in a shrill guitar solo; the ideas and the musical details that the Nutcutters brought together here would have been enough for two good songs. However, they prefer to deliver quality over quantity and incorporate far more than the bare necessities in one excellent song.
The Nutcutters have stuffed their third and most developed studio album full with everything that engaging punk rock songs need. Occasionally this also includes carefully chosen guest musicians, as Chris reports“Muriel Rhyner (The Delilahs) lends us her voices for Paranoid, and Dan Precision (88 Fingers Louie) recorded some backup vocals for Wash Your Brain.” If life is fair, the Nutcutters will be able to use A Decade of Change as their ticket to the promised land of punk rock. All aboard, next stop San Diego!
Jake – Bass, Vocals / Chris – Guitar, Vocals
Normen – Drums / Ric – Guitar