Anyone who has looked around the Sacramento punk scene or been to a Star Trek convention in the area has heard of Warp 11. They’re the punk band that dresses in 1960s Starfleet uniforms and roared to the mainstream with their hit single ""Everything I Do, I Do With William Shatner"" which even saw play on Comedy Central’s Roast of William Shatner. Yeah. They’re awesome.
Now, almost a decade since they first started playing, Warp 11 has seen the departure of drummer and Chief Medical Officer Jeff Hewitt and the welcoming of ""Number One"" John Merlino to fill in the percussion section. Also, it appears Chief Science Officer Kiki Stockhammer has taken a greater role in the music creation process.
The result: the most mature punk record I’ve heard so far this year. Warp 11 has patched together punk into every other rock genre flawlessly, evoking simultaneously the Misfits and AC/DC in the very first song, ""I Make It So"". Front man and bassist Captain Karl Miller can wail like an 80s glam rocker, or croon like Joey Ramone, and shows every angle throughout the album. After a soaring first track the album takes a left turn with the bratty and poppy titular track, which sounds like the musical lovechild of the Buzzcocks and the Briefs, but with a signature style that only Warp 11 could produce.
The lead single, ""Sulu"", is a first-person love-fest from the eyes of everyone’s favorite Japanese-American of the 23rd Century. It’s also got more firepower than the Defiant (for non Trekkies: a lot). But the jaunty and carefree fun of ""Sulu"" is quickly put aside for the heart-racing and epic ""They Put Creatures In Our Bodies"", where pounding drums and ape-like chanting will make you feel like you’re on the final frontier – of rock.
Perhaps the most interesting tracks to me were the ones where the band stepped back for a minute and sang songs about themselves. Kiki Stockhammer took lead vocals for the song ""Beam Into Me"", a sexy first-person in which she cries out the trials of being a woman in a nerd punk band and the target of so much sexual attention. And the final track of the album, ""Yet Another Song About Star Trek"", is sung by Miller, Stockhammer, and guitarist Chief Engineer Brian Moore in which they vocally question why they are in a Star Trek themed punk band anymore, and seem to come to the conclusion that they can do nothing else.
Luckily for them, none of us would want them to do anything else. This album is only knee-deep in these young musicians’ careers. Star Trek premiered nearly a half a century ago, seeing a critically and financially explosive success in JJ Abram’s revitalization of the franchise. Warp 11 appears to have the longevity of its cult origins. Though nerdy trendy bands have come and gone, the concentrated musicianship and energy of Warp 11 has guaranteed that you don’t even have to like Star Trek to think these guys will live long and prosper.