Review Summary: "We don't need pessimism...pessimism...pessimism..."
If you were expecting the overused Green Day song, you will be disappointed. That is until you hear this band play good 'ol punk rock. Good Riddance has adapted to all the sub-genres of punk rock. Their earlier work was a blend of punk rock, pop punk and hardcore music, with production qualities that heavily resembled earlier punk oufits like Black Flag. The middle of their career was heavily focused on melodic hardcore music. GR's last few albums were mostly inspired by the Descendents older material. This album fits into the first of the 3 categories I just described.
A Comprehensive Guide to Moderne Rebellion is an album that is nearly perfect. Upon first glance, or even first listen, one would find this album mediocre, or just disregard it as a typical 90's California punk album. But in reality, the album succeeds in many categories that other bands couldn't compete with. It was melodic enough for even the most sensitive punk, and heavy enough for a hardcore zealot. GR sent political messages that were deep enough for politico punks to admire, but not to the point where it would turn off their less politically interested listeners.
The album opens with a 1950's sound excerpt from an American propaganda film, urging the citizens to look foward to the future of the country opptimisticly. "Weight of the World" then explodes in your face, with its signature drumming and bass beat. The guitar riff that still graces the dreams of GR fans begins, which in turn gives way to Russ Rankin's versitile voice.
Russ's singing on this album is actually quite 3 dimmensional. His singing on tracks like "Token Idiot" and "Lampshade" proves he is melodicially gifted, and yet able to spew heavy rants like "Trophy" and "Sky is Falling" on the same record.
The playing on the album is also top notch. Tattooed Sean Sellers keeps a rapidly fast beat in greatly drummed tunes like "Bittersweet" and "Think of Me." Luke and Chuck, guitarist and bassist respectivley, also bring sweet sounding music. The bridge on "Steps" is amazing to say the least. With the song "Sometimes", you can feel the energy of how much the band gets along with eachother, and how well they used that to their advantage.
"Last Believer" is a stand out track on the album, and may be the most important lyrically. The lyrics are surpirsingly originally sounding, accusing the government and media as instigators to racism. Sexism and government oppression is another theme common in the songs "A Credit to His Gender", "West End Memorial" and "Steps."
Possibly the best thing about this album is the shear catchiness of it all. Its already satisfying the album tackles politics and relationships with excellent playing and singing, but if it wasn't catchy, then this might not have worked. "This is the Light", "Up & Away" and "Favorite Son" are arguably the catchiest songs on the album, even if the lyrcis deal with the dark side of conformity, religion, death and drug addiction.
A Comprehensive Guide to Moderne Rebellion will satisfy any revivalist punk rock fan. GR did an excellent job creating an album that blends several sub-genres of punk rock, while maintaing both heart-felt lyrics and catchy melodies. Do yourself a favor and pick this up, or at least sample the songs off iTunes. It won't disappoint...hopefully.