1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Ah, Good Riddance, our favourite vegan punks! And look, isn’t that the prettiest donkey you’ve ever seen on the cover? "Bound by Ties..." is Good Riddance’s sixth full-lenght album, but they’ve managed to release a few EP’s, a 7" and a cover album since they started out in Santa Cruz back in 1986 (as a Sex Pistols cover band). This album follows a split with Kill Your Idols, and the aforementioned cover album, titled "Cover Ups", but this is the first full-lenght album since "Symptoms of a Levelling Spirit", which was released in 2001. I got that album right after it was released, because I heard the great "Tomorrow’s Headlines". The rest of that album wasn’t as good, but nonetheless a very respectable effort.
Now to look closer at "Bound by Ties of Blood and Affection". As we all (probably) know, Good Riddance are known to not limit themselves to playing just one type of punk. They’ve proven themselves competent to bust out everything from hardcore (which a good number of the songs from 1999’s "Operation Phoenix" showed) to love-dovey pop-punk ("Jeannie" would be the most prominent example of that). "Bound by Ties..." falls mostly under the punk rock category than anything else, not unlike "Symptoms...", and they do it very, very well. Even within the energetic punk rock they serve us, they vary it quite a bit, playing both slower and faster bits. What all the songs have in common though, is the quality and great musicianship. Because there’s no mistaking these guys are very talented, albeit they don’t really amaze us with blazing solos or massive riffage. It’s just solid punk rock, without any obsolete extravaganza. And it works very well.
The highlights on the album include the very fast-paced, melodic "There’s No I In Team", the slow and mature "Remember Me" and the obvious single-hit "More DePalma, Less Fellini". I also can’t help falling in love with the chorus of "Paean To The Enlightenment", and the hard-hitting opening track "Made To Be Broken". But there are places where they fall somewhat short too, and especially so on a few of the slower tracks. For example, "The Process" is (in my opinion) nothing short of boring. "The Dubious Glow of Excess" doesn’t do anything for me either. But it’s not confined to slow songs only – "Boxing Day" is a very uninpired, and because of that also uninspiring, little pop-punk number that really should’ve been left off this disc.
***, now I feel bad for ranting about the less good qualities of this otherwise excellent disc. Because it is an excellent album, don’t doubt it. The good things easily outweigh the bad, and this ranks among the best releases of 2003, and I’d even say that it’s the best Good Riddance album so far! And the ending of the album is truly brilliant (no ,I won’t tell you what it is – buy the album and find out)...