“Blowout” by The So So Glos is probably one of the most accurate and honest attempts at recreating the late 70’s era punk rock vibe that has surfaced in recent years. It’s obvious “The Clash” influence allows it to keep one foot in the past and one foot in the now allowing the blend of elements and aspects from the modern indie rock scene and even some mild pop punk influences to shine. This could make the album attractive to fans of each genre without alienating punk fans.
The melodies can be extremely catchy and the vocal approach has an almost gritty, shouted tone but it has a very cheeky sort of ‘don’t take this too seriously’ sort of vibe. The guitar and bass work is what keeps the album interesting and campy however. The lead guitar parts do a great job of harmonizing with the rhythm parts and adding a few extra licks here and there to keep things interesting. It’s nothing groundbreaking by any means. Most of the tracks follow song structures that were pioneered 40+ years ago and very much so solidified by the late 70’s. However this is not what makes the album. It is simply a retrospective vessel that may make is more accessible to new listeners.
One of the larger blemishes this album sports is the failure to live up the single “Son of an American”; it is by far the most standout track. It has genuinely great lyrics, a virally catchy chorus, enjoyable instrumentals and an ultimately driving energy that does not let up. After “Son of an American” the album takes turns suffering from redundancy, either lyrically or musically. In a few instances both occur in unison. “Diss Town” and “Lost Weekend” are great examples of one sided shortcomings. They each possess ambitious instrumentals that deliver on par with the finest tracks of the album while lyrically they come across as bland and senseless. Songs such as these are what takes the boat from full speed ahead to cruising on a damaged rudder board. It does sit well coming from a band who claims to be politically charged and has displayed they can write up powerful and motivating messages.
The steam of the album lies in the songs that bring the punk vitality to the forefront. “All of the Time” rants and rages practically spewing out disrespects and dissections of political society in a simple but intelligible way while tracks like “Wrecking Ball” rely on a simple message and a hard hitting instrumental to carry its own weight. Even the title track makes for a fun little breather. It’s essentially a surf rock throwback that is both amusing and well composed but it is not a standout track. While this track works well with the high energy happy go lucky sort of feel other tracks like “Xanax” and “Speakeasy” straddle the line dividing understated potency and boredom.
The So So Glos managed to create certain diversity with “Blowout”. No two songs sound remotely similar which is a refreshing aspect to listen upon, especially among the identified genre. The problem is to some extent this is the albums downfall. Because The So So Glos manage to create a certain atmosphere but fail to craft consistently satisfying tracks the album feel average quickly. Thankfully this does not ruin the album. It is still an entertaining listen and for the most part it does what it sets out to do rather well. The strengths of the album manage to balance out with the negative aspects allowing it to be an interesting album worth checking out.
“Blowout” pulls off what it promises to bring to the table and proves that the group has the talent it takes to produce a record that can match genre standards. Tracks like “Son of an American” and “All of the Time” show that in the future the band will be able to exceed expectations. The So So Glos have the potential to be one of the best punk bands in the current scene and once they get their footing in check big things are sure to happen for them. Until then “Blowout” is great album to spin a time or two and even more if you are so inclined.