It’s been a punishing few weeks for fans of punk and a genre which threatens to become broader than Meat Loaf continues to push the boundaries three decades after causing parents everywhere to run for cover.
Here at rushonrock we’ve decided to pull together the three biggest punk rock releases of the year and cast a critical eye over the pros and cons of the latest albums by Green Day, Gallows and Rancid.
They’re all described as punk but put three of 2009’s hottest acts of the year together in one room and you’d be hard pressed to pigeon-hole the ambitious trio. Green Day, all polished production and pop sensibility with a political twist stand apart from the angst-ridden vitriol which fuels Watford crew Gallows and the classic nu-punk groove of US mega sellers Rancid. But all three bands have come up trumps with their latest attempt to shake up the music business.
Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown (Reprise) is a suitably sumptuous follow-up to the amazing American Idiot, split into three acts and boasting a slew of new singalong anthems fit for gloabl arenas and sweaty clubs alike. By reinventing the punk wheel this talented trio have set new standards – tunes like Know Your Enemy, Murder City and 21 Guns get straight to the point and stick in your head. It’s the classic Green Day formula and yet again this record proves beyond doubt that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Gallows may well look at pop tarts Green Day and laugh – in an evil, humourless kind of way. But if Britain’s finest look unemotional then their passion spills over across the brutal and unnerving Grey Britain (Warners). This is no CD for the feint hearted but there’s much to admire about the bleak brilliance of tracks like Leeches, The Great Forgiver and Crucifucks. If you’re preapred to embrace those suicidal tendencies and accept the country’s in a right old mess then this is the record you’ve been waiting for. And it’s well worth the wait.
So what of the long lost Rancid. On paper they’re just as capable of competing at punk’s top table again after a six year hiatus but there’s something soulless about Let The Dominoes Fall (Hellcat/Epitaph) which makes you wonder whether Tim Armstrong and his buddies have lost their love of making musical mischief. Disconnected, track number five, says it all, and if the musicianship always ranks alongside 2003’s Indestructible then the unique twists and turns which marked that record out as a modern classic are sorely missing.