Hanzo – The Debut Self-Titled.

Hanzo – Rugby, England, United Kingdom.


Hanzo’s self titled EP fell into my lap, presented to me as a Garage Rock trio that dishes out sounds drawn in from Rocka, Psycho, and other various billies as well as Surf Rock. Straight from the cover of their self-titled, you’re assaulted with a bright pink cover that is very insisted on its retro-pop art aesthetic that tells you, in the highest of honesty where this band is coming from in terms of sound.

Hanzo cuts in at around twenty minutes, offering six tracks of tunes that parents would’ve been really concerned about half a century ago. My praises for this band reach to the clarity in their compositions and production. This is a really pretty, chromed-out aesthetic power trip that reaches out to The Surfaris, jumps a little further out to Elvis Presley and scratches its back with The Black Keys when its done doing that.

The opening track, ‘Bubblegum’ doesn’t blow out in front of you and pop in its winding Surf Rock riffs as hard as you would hope. The appeals to youthful romance and other topics discussed through the lyricism fail to provide memorable hooks and singalong tendencies that are seemingly required in this end of the Rock n’ Roll spectrum to carry the very light and simplistic sounds that are very dominant throughout the record.

‘Loose Lips’ and ‘Friends’ are undeniable charmers that set good tones and high hopes for Hanzo to stretch their sound out in a vaguely defined, yet very grounded sound thats been volleyed back and forth between musicians in the United States and those in the United Kingdom. Most of Hanzo’s self titled EP, arguably all of it is an appeal to nostalgia, that to some listeners may feel detracts from the memorability of this release.

Where this record might’ve served well to become a bit more aggressive, or raunchier, or delved further into hypnotic, psychedelic passages, it didn’t. Hanzo has a very concrete concept of sound that sadly hasn’t been flourished upon to bring me back to listen to this again. The author of this piece is interested to see if this Brit-Rock trio has the intuition to channel their performative prowess into expanding their musicianship.

Find all things Hanzo below:



I spend a lot of time meditating on why Insect Warfare broke up and cleaning off my Wolves in the Throne Room records. I play in bands on four strings and vocal. Residing in Boston, MA, USA.

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