Review Summary: For the Punx
Punk rock's not dead, its better than ever in fact. With bands such as OFF!, Cerebral Ballzy, Trash Talk, and Ceremony keeping it alive, we all should be satisfied. Classics of Love's new self titled album released on Asian Man Records is yet another album to prove this statement correct. What makes Classics of Love different from other punk rockers mentioned earlier? Not much is different actually, but this is a damn good album.
Classics of Love is lead by Jesse Michaels, formerly of Operation Ivy and Common Rider. Jesse was the one with the rough vocals in Op Ivy, a contrast to Tim Armstrong's vocal delivery. Michaels's vocal delivery and guitar playing sounds better than ever,and the three other band members of the punk rawkers "Hard Girls" take care of the rest. This band actually got the name Classics of Love from a Common Rider song of the same name.
This s/t album kicks of with a certain energy not as evident on their previous Walking in Shadows EP. Classics of Love builds on their previous lighter, poppier sound. This release pulls you into a journey of intense hardcore punk, a few ska-core tracks "Castle in the Sky" and "Bandstand". "Moving Pictures", not too different from a Black Sabbath song is slower than any track on here and doomy sounding. 80's post-hardcore is slightly present throughout this release as well.
Classics of Love relies on choruses that keep one singing along. A formula overdone often, but is done right with this release. Catchy hooks are filled throughout, holding the listener's attention. Backing vocals make the hooks and choruses that much catchier.
Yes, this album is simple, but then again what punk album is not musically simple? Instead of relying on technicality, this album uses emotion and passion to pull the listener in. Instead of using a cliche punk attitude (cerebral ballzy anyone?), a genuine punk sound is heard here.
Lyrics delve into Michael's issues with current society, nothing is really too politically charged here. Closer track "We Need a Change" is a notable highlight on here, simply put... society needs a change NOW. Many tracks bring a powerful message relying on Michael's genius song-writing and rather angst filled vocals. A solid sound is present here with the constant guitar riffage, fast drumming, and heavy bass. Every one of the 13 tracks is just under three minutes, the majority are just under 2 minutes. Every track here is solid, nothing falls short of great. While this band is older than the average punk band, their s/t comes off as a rather youthful release.
If you're a fan of hardcore, punk, or ska then give this a listen. While this release is very 80's punk rock sounding, this effort maintains a modern edge to it. (better production) The only thing missing on here is a certain variety that was present on Operation Ivy's Energy. An addition of skanky riffs could have made for a more varied listen. Also a certain playfulness present on that record is somewhat missing here. Some of the tracks can become a bit too samey for my liking as well. Nonetheless, this is my favorite punk release of 2012 so far. Before you decide to make a change, take a listen to this album...it won't disappoint. Now whose looking forward to that upcoming OFF! record?