Big Stir Records is thrilled to kick off 2024 with a blast of rock and roll energy direct from Detroit: the label debut album INSIDE OUT & BACKWARDS from garage-pop-punk heroes THE INCURABLES. Featuring the new single “When I Grow Up” and no fewer than four more recent hits fresh from the global airwaves, it's ten tracks total in under 34 minutes, placing the Michigan quartet firmly in the lineage of The Ramones and The Clash (with a touch of hometown heroes The Stooges).
Absolutely legendary on the local live scene, THE INCURABLES have been commanding stages and issuing now hard-to-find indie records with the same high-school-forged lineup – cousins Ray and Darrin Lawson on bass and drums, along with their lifelong friends Pat Kelly and Dennis Pepperack on guitars – for over thirty years. The reason for their sudden ascendance to the global pop-rock airwaves after all those decades is clear both sonically and thematically on the lead single, the forever-young anthem “When I Grow Up”: this band of brothers refuses to act their age. The track is one of five on INSIDE OUT & BACKWARDS – an album the band calls “a ten-track intermission from reality that plays like an all-access pass to a mid-western carnival” – that've already won The Incurables a whole slew of new fans as hits on pop-rock radio and playlists worldwide, and there's an equal number of brand new rough-hewn gems to balance them.
The tunes come in as many flavors as “Soda Pop”, to namecheck their sly celebration of a sweet beverage by whatever regional name you know it. There's the soaringly aching “Back Into Eloise” (hooks, crunchy guitars and a girl's name: yep, it's power pop), the menacing “Funhouse,” the album's clearest nod to Iggy's enduring influence, and “Far Away,” an instantly classic pop-punk putdown/singalong. The only thing you won't find here is a ballad – not surprising from a foursome that's managed to transform the likes of “Wonderful Tonight” and “Muskrat Love” into fist-pumping rockers for the ages.
If we're talking Detroit rock, The Incurables' blend of melody and muscle lands them squarely between The MC5 and The Romantics. The rest of the album's tracks, including the future single “When You” and the scathing “Go Away,” are delightfully cut from the same cloth, each taking a different angle on the trials of life and love and hammering them home with equal parts heart and power. Hearing them, it's hard to believe that it's taken this long for THE INCURABLES to achieve the breakthrough they've always deserved. But the payoff is that they've done so by sticking to their youthful blueprint and honing their chemistry to the garage-rock point of perfection. No, they're not going to grow up... and as long as they keep creating music as vital as INSIDE OUT & BACKWARDS, we can only hope they never do.
released January 19, 2024
Darrin Lawson: Vocals, Drums, Piano, Percussion
Pat Kelly: Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Ray Lawson: Vocals, Bass, Xylophone
Dennis Pepperack: Vocals, Guitar
Produced by Tony Hamera & The Incurables.
All songs written by The Incurables.
Recorded and Mastered at Tempermill Studios, Ferndale, MI, 2023
Additional Guitar (“Man Of Few Words”): Kelly Marcott
Additional Guitar (“Soda Pop”): Tony Hamera