To visit Whole Wheat Bread's MySpace page, which pairs a profile photo of three unsmiling black men with streaming strains of fast melodic punk, is to suspect an elaborate hoax. Not because black dudes can't play punk -- Bad Brains obliterated that silly stereotype two decades ago -- but because it's just the sort of tragically unfunny stunt some Warped Tour doofus would find hilarious. Perhaps the people who posted comments such as "fo shizzle my nizzle" and "bling bling" suspected chicanery, as that's the most charitable interpretation of the otherwise grating racial condescension.
But there's nothing artificial about Whole Wheat Bread. Hailing from Jacksonville, Florida, the band features Trinidad-born singer-guitarist Aaron Abraham and an all-sibling rhythm section, with Nicholas and Joseph Largen on bass and drums, respectively. "Old Man Samson," the lead single from the group's debut disc, Minority Rules, possesses surprising pub-rock swagger and nails its Irish-jiggery interludes. The band's live sets incorporate everything from thrash to freestyle rap (Abraham originally contacted then-beatmaker Nicholas Largen to pursue a hip-hop project), with every genre experiment infused with vast energy and disarming humor. Whole Wheat Bread gives the increasingly bland pop-punk landscape some much-needed color, figuratively as well as literally.