The Traps’ brief existence is captured here by Castle Face Records’ founder and creative force John Dwyer. As with most Castle Face releases, Boom Pow Awesome Wow is punk-influenced garage rock that’s redlined so hard it’s maroon. The album consists of the entirety of The Traps’ recordings: the first six from a CD-R EP, the last four from a cassette demo.
Boom Pow Awesome Wow captures The Traps in their Coachwhips-esque glory: noise and ferocity in three minutes or less (with two exceptions). But there’s one fatal flaw that ruins the experience: even for Castle Face garage rock, the production is atrocious. Dwyer and the gang must have believed the incredibly low-fidelity would heighten the sense of an immediate live performance,1 but they went too far here. Two examples: the solo on “Mr. H,” and the bluesy number “Get Up.” A few songs slip by, but just barely; there are plenty of bands on CF and other labels that better pull off this aesthetic. The heaviness in Boom Pow Awesome Wow comes across as an excuse to mask poor musicianship.
Garage rock purists may find Boom Pow Awesome Wow appealing. Other listeners will almost certainly find the production on the majority of songs too poor to be bearable. Tracks for the latter group to check out include “Boom Pow Awesome Wow,” “Missed the Mark,” and “I Can’t Handle That.”2 3
1. Boom Pow Awesome Wow – (2:21) – ★★★★★
2. All Night – (2:16) – ★★★☆☆
3. Mr. H – (2:24) – ★★☆☆☆
4. Missed the Mark – (2:42) – ★★★★☆
5. Illinois – (2:27) – ★★☆☆☆
6. Get Up – (6:23) – ★★★☆☆
7. Busalo – (1:48) – ★★☆☆☆
8. I Can’t Handle That – (2:41) – ★★★★☆
9. How Long? – (2:39) – ★★☆☆☆
10. Beer Piñata – (3:39) – ★★☆☆☆
1Which, in fairness, are pretty much as loud as Boom Pow Awesome Wow elicits.
2Throwing one or two into a garage rock or lo-fi playlist would be pretty cool. It’s all of it as an album that kinda fails.
3Maybe “Get Up” too. Its length detracts.