|Many considered the previous second album "Moving Forward" the top of their career, while I see it as a rung of the ladder, surmounted by the brand-new album I am about to analyze.|
The Ohio quartet's comeback is a bit short (8 songs for about 23 minutes), yet in line with the precepts of the genre.
Besides a happy and drunk cover-version of a Rolling Stones' hit, there's also room for a quite unusual interpretation of "Every Rose Has Its Thorns", by Poison (USA); the original was romantic and touching, whereas this new energetic version turns the song upside down, making it a bag for the next Blatant Finger shows.
The record kicks off fast and tough with the Punk Rock of "Not in Our World", followed by the old - but not retro - styled "Story to Tell" and "Heart's Done Breaking" (the latter including a few southern California Skate Punk structures as well).
The 4-piece's past comparisons were Social Distortion, F Word, the Crowd, the Clash, Swingin' Utters, Buzzcocks, Generation X, Rancid, the Replacements, Pegboy, MIA, Kraut, the Freeze, Naked Raygun, Dropkick Murphys, Sloppy Seconds, Sludgeworth, Screeching Weasel, Alkaline Trio, Green Day and Nirvana; with the exclusion of the last two bands, the influences repeat themselves this time, and even include other ones; for instance, the opening riff in "Washed Ashore" has been literally bag-snatched by Blink 182's repertoire, and it is so plain that we can't talk about a coincidence. Being malicious often means telling the truth, but I too have to admit that it connects so smoothly to the rest of the composition, which means the four guys are pretty capable arrangers (let's render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's).
And then we get to the highlight of "Eight for the Road", "Hear No Evil", a Hardcore/Punk track destined to become a classic: tight, involving, variform, gifted with the best vocals and back-up vocals of the whole album.
Between the two listenable covers lies "Lost Cause", a short chip of frantic mid-West Punk played with Hardcore attitude where one can discern the ghost of Raw Power's "After Your Brain" in the distance.
In the end, a platter that is not a masterpiece, nevertheless able to raise your attention and make you move your feet all of the time. If you're looking for straight fun and you like records that balance between 80's UK and north-American Punk, don't search elseplace!
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 2nd November 2008