Consider the ravens

by Nathan Hall

Can Christians be punk?

The question might evoke an obvious contradiction in terms for most. The Bible specifically prohibits its followers from swearing, cheating on their taxes, disrespecting their elders and a whole slew of other activities traditionally cherished by the punk rock community. Falling somewhere in between the two extremes both theologically and stylistically is local five-piece Tora! Tora! Torrance!

With a punning name derived from a 1970’s flick about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Tora! arose from the ashes of fire-and-brimstone, hardcore outfit Fed By Ravens, known primarily for their conservative, pious mosh-pit sermonizing. The new band retained most of the original members. Their second full-length compact disc – “A Cynics Nightmare” – finds the group retreating into nebulous religious statements while simultaneously stretching the boundaries of the punk rock aesthetic in frantic, angular directions.

Lead singer Nick Koenigs opens by squawking “What’s wrong with a little monogamy?” Inexplicably, earthy references to binge drinking, pre-marital sex, pill popping and ass shaking soon follow. Trumpets, cowbells and other traditionally “un-punk” instruments are introduced to raucous effect; perhaps best executed on the cut “I Thought This Was a Punk Show.” The album’s luxurious production values, courtesy of the famed Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minn., are a definite leap forward from their equally stellar debut “Get into it.” Tora! also realizes the spasmodic, epic At the Drive In/Refused sounds they appear to have been striving for.

Still, they’re holding their CD release party in a church basement. So, they can’t have strayed too far from the flock. But What Would Johnny Rotten Do?

Tora! Tora! Torrance! will celebrate their “A Cynics Nightmare” CD release show at 6 p.m. on Aug. 1. The show is at The Fallout, which is located at 2609 Stevens Ave. S. in Minneapolis. Tickets are $6 for this all-ages event. End Transmission, Lead Veins and Huge Rat Attacks open.

Nathan Hall welcomes comments at [email protected]