With their latest album “Stoveall,” Microwave, a four-piece Georgia indie punk band, blows the roof off the alternative music scene. With mind-numbing guitar slamming and guttural vocalization, the band has brought the indie punk scene back into the limelight. For fans of this genre, heavily saturated in the late 90s and early 2000s with bands such as Taking Back Sunday, Brand New and Blink 182, Microwave is reviving this sound with a rawness that will have listeners spinning the record until their needle busts.
The album begins with “Stoveall,” a contemplative song about drug addiction which inspired the album title. Heavy themes of poverty, religious questioning and even suicide pervade the album in a way that keeps listeners interested while they hear a personal account of the band’s struggles. Although at first the stream-of-consciousness lyricism can come across as too, after a handful of plays listeners can expect to develop an endearing relationship with such blue-collar lyrics as “I should have got to college, and got some type of degree because now I’ve got a second job and work like 60 hours a week.”
Microwave’s 2014 debut album is full of words that, while comprehensive, contain a wit that accurately describes the hard times of urban poverty. The song “Something Right,” tells the story of a man getting his girlfriend pregnant and questioning how he is going to be able to pay his insurance bill. As well as exposing their struggles in their everyday life, Microwave even exposes the skepticism they face in their own occupation. In the song “Grass Stains,” Microwave says, “I’ll probably never be a famous writer. I’ll probably never be all that successful.”
This genuine realism is not only portrayed through Microwave’s lyricism, but in the simple guitar licks and driving drum rhythms. The honest instrumentation coupled with powerful and intentionally rough vocals push Microwave to a new level.
While punk music often has the reputation of being angry for no reason, Microwave develops punk in a way that advocates for Americans in poverty. They redefine the punk platform. In “Stoveall,” Microwave conveys struggles in a unique way that people from all sides of the musical spectrum can empathize with.