Review Summary: A logical step between Discharge and Jawbreaker.
From the get-go, Skag Heaven
let's the listener know what it's all about. Right out of the gate, with the intro to “Kid Dynamite”, it's chaotic, it's booming, it's noisy and it's fast as hell. The guitars swirl around, saturated in a fuzzy d-beat sort of way with a rhythm section that stays tight in a complex groove. Yet suddenly, just when it starts to sound like the first 20 seconds of a Discharge
album, the band settles into a steady melodic sweet spot, complete with passionate and unwavering vocals. The song continues to blend these elements of disorienting speed and grounded melody.
“Kid Dynamite” serves as an exemplary case of what this album is all about – 25 minutes of straight forward punk songs at breakneck speeds with enough melody to be a precursor to Pop Punk. And that is where Squirrel Bait find their success, harnessing the ability to have dizzying jams like the intro to “Slake Train Coming” existing on the same album as the heartfelt melodies in the closer “Tape From California” yet never losing an ounce of focus or energy. This album does not take breaks and it doesn't let up; it is a full on attack of dissonance and stop-start rhythms, wrapped up and tethered in just enough pop sensibility to remain catchy enough to get stuck in the listeners' head. It's a wonder why Squirrel Bait aren't held to the same esteem as their contemporaries like Husker Du and Big Black, when just a few listens to Skag Heaven makes it clear how much they deserve it.