U.S. Bombs - We Are The Problem Review
by Russ the Punk
DISCLAIMER: IF YOU ARE STRAIGHT-EDGE THEN YOU WILL NOT LIKE THIS CD. STOP READING NOW.
This is a new album in more ways than one; the label on the CD denoting its 2006 release date does not quite say enough. Throughout the album, there is a vague sense of hopelessness and lost ambitions that clash markedly with the major- and power-chord-laden progressions.
At first listen this comes off as the fruit of Epitaph's loins, with its familiar Dropkick Murphys appeal. But no, dammit, these are the U.S. Bombs and these motherf***ers predate anything that could be fronted as punk rock by the good ol' chaps at Ep.
I listened to this album a lot in the 24 hours after receiving it. I listened to it on my faithful (albeit hapless) computer, I listened to it on my headphones, I cranked it from my dickless stereo speakers, and even the very words you are reading right now were written as I was taking a s*** while listening to "The Fourth of July." An album that can make a good s*** even better is a good album.
What is different about this album is the aesthetic given by the pseudo-nihilism of the lyrics (although this cannot be said about much of the lines, especially the drinking anthems) warbled over the sugary guitar distortion, and the incredible feeling that a contradiction has just pimp-slapped you and you couldn't care less.
The Bombs, like many of their contemporaries, run in the same vein as old-school punk mainstays such as The Damned and The Buzzcocks; general apathetic malaise, with the occasional social commentary. They know their s*** and are perfectly self-aware of their own significance to punk and music general.
The sad part of all this is that it becomes far to easy to typecast such a band, much less one that has been around for over a decade. You can hear some of the hope (or lack thereof) seeping through the cracks in each chord; but never fear, all of this comes to something: This entire album is greater than the sum of its parts. No one song struck me too much more than the others in particular, because it proves that the Bombs are not on the verge of even attempting radio-ready status. The occasional catchy track, a little generality, but never quite sinking to the level of the still-developing hordes of post-Green Day commercial alternative. These bastards have got some integrity. You can detect a touch of sameness in each song, sometimes bordering on redundancy, and it becomes apparent that this is an effort cut from one slice of the brain. It could be bettered somewhat by diversifying the central concepts of the work in a centrifuge-like fashion, and delving deeper a little. That's my only gripe.
Final Summation: This is a good album, not quite great, but definitely worth your ears. Nothing revolutionary is said, no allusions to totalitarian barbarism are made. This is precisely the reason why people will buy it; in an age where bashing a hopelessly corrupt head of state equates to a new house and a trophy wife, and weeding out such scum becomes toilsome, here we have a little band with a lot of heart singing about getting completely s***faced, fighting, and a note on Independence Day hypocrisy.
The final song, "Cheers," is a fitting send-off for a group whom, I trust, are misrepresented by mere sound alone. The U.S. Bombs are a live band if I ever heard one and I'd buy them a round any day.
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U.S. Bombs - We Are The Problem
Label:Sailor's Grave Records
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