A Journal Of The Dark Arts
It’s true – we are all punk rockers, whether part-time or retired or mutated. Hell, part of the reason this blog exists is due to a lengthy period of immersion in Nausea’s Extinction: The Second Coming. We cannot ignore that period of tumult and anarchy. Whether it’s the savage simplicity of The Ramones, the minimalism of Wire, or the arty appropriation of The Talking Heads, we have to take that revolution in account, when listening to the modern soundscape.
While we may been aging art punks, there are few genres that are more reviled in the flying buttresses of Forestpunk HQ than pop punk. “So because you are emo, I will spit you out of My mouth.” – Revelations, 3:16
A lot of folks 10 years younger than i am having a fond recollection and connection to this fist-pumping era, but i have no such sentimentality, so anybody citing Green Day or Taking Back Sunday is probably going to be turned off. Immediately.
Still, Punker Than Thou, from SF punks Worth Taking came to my attention, and i try and hear every piece of music objectively and without prejudice. If i hate it, i will probably let you know, even if it is with a steely silence, but i will listen to, and write about, absolutely anything.
Perhaps the only format that catches more shit than pop punk is the ‘covers record’, so you might assume Worth Taking had 2 strikes against them before getting out of the gate, with this slim, streamlined connection of Ramones, MxPx and Green Day covers.
Instead, Worth Taking clear their name, and prove themselves worthy of listen. They wipe the slate and clear the table, making us make up our own minds about how we feel about punk rock.
Because this is GOOD punk rock.
I think the difference, or the thing that started to sway my opinion, was in the lines
“Like many passionate songsters before him, Jerod McBrayer listened to Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American and it changed his life. His heart pounded, his veins pumped what felt like strawberry syrup, and his body felt like he was in one of those dreams where you try to run but your legs move like marshmallows.”
His lyrics related effortlessly to the challenges of post adolescent life, without the whiny, post-breakup discourse so prevalent in many pop- punk songs.
Okay, no whining. I’ll give it a shot. And i’m glad i did, as Punker Than Thou is a quick vitamin blast of infectious melodies and unbridled energy.
The guitars rage. The drums pummel and pop. The vocals are on key and know how to sing harmony. I’d almost call this speed pop, what a lot of people now consider ‘power pop’. It’s catchy. It’s fun. It throws you off yr couch, and makes you want to DO something.
As the weather turns, let this be yr call to action. This is music for BBQs, bike riding and skateboarding. This is music for loving, and for fighting. This is the music of YOUTH, before it became YOUTH CULTURE.
Don’t let them buy and sell yr adolescence. Don’t become jaded. Never give up. You can’t buy a revolution.
And bonus points for actually doing a cool cover of an MxPx song, the slow ‘n sludgy “The Empire”:
For people that like any of the covered bands, particularly The Ramones, Bad Religion or even The Germs, kickstart yr summer in high style, with this pay what you want download.
Worth Taking have a full-length coming out at the end of the summer, and this seems like a warm-up to the main event. Worth Taking and worth taking a risk on, to rediscover the joy and tumult and fury of punk rock.