To say that Poison Arrows vocalist Tuk Smith has matured since his days spent jamming on plasticine punk chords with his former band the Heart Attacks isn't quite accurate, but he is more focused these days. The same can be said for the rest of the fashionable young lads who make up Poison Arrows; Mikey Portwood (bass), Joey O'Brien (drums) and Josh Hitson (guitar).
The budding glam punk crew finds former Heart Attacks cohorts Smith and Portwood exhibiting the benefits of digesting a broad swath of rock 'n' roll history that began in the 1950s and comes to a screeching halt somewhere in Britain circa 1975. Trace elements of Nick Lowe, Cheap Trick, the Boys, and Slade bare a distinct mark on the group's strutting guitars and sneering pop songwriting. Portwood decrees that he doesn't want to be thought of as a record collector band, but Smith chimes in to the contrary. "I don't want to make the same mistakes the Heart Attacks made," he says. "I don't want to be thought of as a little kid band. I would like to take it to another level where we actually write good songs and play good songs. To me the Heart Attacks were a gimmick band. I was 19 and we were crazy."
The group has a 7-inch due out this month on Chicago's Full Breach Records, which will be followed by another single on local label Die Slaughterhaus Records.
The four songs on their MySpace page show off a breezy punk and pop concoction that show signs of refinement and a push to rely less on spectacle and more on the merits of experienced writing. "Shakin' All Over" is a mashup of hushed glam rock tones a la T. Rex, and a barreling New York Dolls accent. Other songs, "Sticky Situation," "Electric Nights," and "Hittin' it Hard" channel a collective punk palette that sidesteps the nihilism of the Sex Pistols and draws more upon exuberant pop craftsmanship, but not at the expense of their bad ass image.
"I like to say that we're a power pop band," Portwood adds. "But we're more power than pop."