Almost got it

(Ed. note: The text for the reviews of Wrench’s Blue Blood Blue and bliss have been paired.)

Singles shouldn’t be benchmarks of a band’s creative worth, but they make for ideal spots to invite listeners into surrounding tracks.

A few well-placed singles certainly make a difference between a really good album and a posterior-busting one.

Wrench is an incredible band, both on stage and in the studio. And while the band’s major label recordings, Blue Blood Blue and bliss, are full of beefy riffs, body-moving rhythms and pogo-inducing energy, they both lack that all important pivot — the single.

Wrench’s sound is a pretty basic one — post-grunge metallic-punk hooks backing a monotone singer-rapper. Wrench’s power chords are nothing new but they certainly feel like it, and Shige manages to evoke Zach de la Rocha and, according to one friend of mine, Public Image, Ltd.’s John Lydon.

Of the two albums, Blue Blood Blue has the more memorable hooks. The namesake chorus of “Let It Flow” stands out in the listener’s mind. “I would like to touch a naked mind” doesn’t offer much lyrically, but that Indian-style intro is hard to forget.

bliss, however, is a lot more kinetic. After the obligatory introductory pomp of “Soundwave,” Wrench doesn’t let up the momentum. Here, Shige resorts to chanting like a Rasta over more of the band’s grunge-y riffs, and the combination works well.

Blue Blood Blue and bliss are both enjoyable albums, especially if driving, hard rock is your thing. But with guitar work as melodic as this, it’s hard to stomach Shige’s chanting for the duration of an entire disc, let alone two.

Wrench’s colleagues in RIZE and Missile Girl Scoot recognize the importance of a memorable chorus, and while Shige offers some nice melismatic moments, he doesn’t give Wrench enough push to take the band from excellent to brilliant.

And its that lack of a vocal melody that, in essence, leaves Wrench’s albums lacking any singles.

Even without singing or singles, Wrench still stands on some very solid musical foundation. Bassist Matsuda Tomohiro and drummer Nagoya Fujimaru never guitarist Sakamoto Azuma astray, and the results are achivements themselves.