Seattle can be treacherous if you're unable to walk the path of the modest rocker. For bands who boldly aspire to Make It with no tongue in cheek-and for whom that agenda includes flashy stage shows and conscientious coiffing-the snarky brigade is constantly sharpening its talons.

Take the newest addition to Seattle's post-punk scene, Razrez. Onstage they wear makeup that ranges from eyeliner that smears into raccoon stains to black cheek streaks stolen from Adam Ant's war paint. They own a fog machine. Even bolder still, they purchased a giant, glowing-white "RAZREZ" sign. The electric moniker shines like a cross on the growing house of worship they've erected for their music; and there's a sizable following joining their ranks quicker than there are detractors questioning it, thanks to their energized, stylized mix of angular disco, new-wave pop, and moody glam punk.

But Razrez don't lack haters. Earlier this year the band won The Stranger's Big Shot competition, a readers' poll contest devised to spotlight emerging local talent. Although they'd only been playing shows since October, Razrez prevailed. The hype came at a price, though, as now message boards and showgoers alike generate a backlash against a band that perseveres. "The difference is, we're not all show; we can back it up with good music," Razrez drummer Jason Reavis says confidently. "When we played in Bellingham, I heard some guy say, 'Well, yeah, they have $2,000 worth of guitars and $2,000 worth of drums,' and it's like, I don't give a fuck, dude. We kicked ass and we backed it up."

Adds frontman Aykut Özen, "Music alone is not enough to entertain people. You have to have a cabaret, [or] something. I feel better when I see a photo of myself with a concept onstage. People want to be entertained... I also like people criticizing me because that feeds me... I want to be in a band that has scandals, that people talk about, either good or bad. And now... things are happening for us and I'm really proud of it."

Reavis smirks and continues, "I've been in a lot of hardworking bands and I'd never gotten hate mail before Razrez. I feel like I've finally made it."

We're sitting in the Leschi Marina, floating on a modest speedboat owned by Razrez bassist Chris Duryee. Although he possesses the loudest playthings-boat, motorcycle, muscle car-Duryee's the quietest Razrez member. He spends most of the interview quietly drinking Tecate, although he graciously indulged The Stranger's idea to play with the band's new-wave tendencies by constructing a boat-based photo shoot à la Duran Duran. Razrez consist of four very different musicians crafting exactly what they want-both sonically and visually-and they're not going to stay quiet about it. And why should they?

The quartet-which also includes guitarist Chris Quinn-came together a year and a half ago through the usual Seattle connections. Razrez's collective experience spans ages and genres, but they've fused disparate approaches into a cohesive, compelling sound that smolders with seductive dance-floor beats, spiky guitar hooks, and daydream-pop explorations. "Aykut likes to stay current in music and I like to play lead guitar, so there's a built-in tension right there," admits Quinn of the band's multidirectional approach.

The band's debut EP, The Dirty Beat, comes out this week. Over the course of five songs, Razrez color their uptempo new-wave kicks with splashes of Television, Echo & the Bunnymen, and faint traces of Gang of Four.

"The new music now, which is being called disco punk, is like what Bauhaus and David Bowie did when they were experimenting with rock music," says Özen. "[Bands] had some groovy beats in the late '90s [and] early 2000s and someone picked it back up and created this whole dance-punk thing, which I don't believe in. We don't look at it that way. We want to groove the song, but we never think of it as 'dance punk.' If it's part of your stage presence, people are going to get into it, people are going to move." One look at Razrez's crowd at a recent War Room show offers plenty of movement. Razrez claim you can dance to any band, but few local acts inspire such night-club-specific shuffling.

That night, at the front of the War Room stage, Özen stripped off the thin vest he'd worn earlier to stand shirtless before the crowd. He didn't do high kicks in his half-dressed attire, but instead gave a slow, moody meltdown performance appropriate for the music. He's quick to defend the drama in their live show: "In the glam era, a lot of those people made great music and nobody questioned why those people put makeup on-the idea was making [music] even better and bringing it to a new level. Now maybe Seattle isn't ready for that, but I don't think about that," says the Turkish-born singer, who moved to Seattle three years ago. "There are people out there who do like it."

If all else fails, the band joke that Özen has his backup plan in place. "If I can't make it in the music business, I'm going to be a porn star," he deadpans. But for now he has a better concept for the success: getting a record contract and becoming big stars. "Fuck yeah, I want to sell out," Özen admits. "If more people can enjoy it in the room, it's better for me. I get fed off that energy." ■