From the opening of this record, you know your in for something heavy, from the cover you know its going to be similar to the nihilism of Leftover Crack. But one thing betrays this comparison. No Cash can play thier instruments. While Leftover Crack's records are mostly made up of ''shock politics'', samples and fast beats, although No Cash offer much of the same, they also can play and also bring thier powerful instrumentation to thier record.
Although the band are not up to the musicianship most sputnikers are accustomed to, within punk rock, No Cash are more like a band who have been playing for five years, not yet growing tired, and coming into thier own. Very surprising for a bands first (and likely final) release.
Unusually for a punk rock record, this begins with an instrumental, 'Samurais Of The Sea' opening with a scream more welcome in a ''Nu Goth-Emo'' record which is built up around a brooding guitar solo by Judd which quickly brings it away from those camp shock rock styles.
As soon as this comes into its own as the first song-proper of the record, you will be scrabbling through the liner notes to see if the STZA has featured on this record as much as you would expect. Which brings me to a major criticism, they are Leftover Crack emulators. I do like Leftover Crack and No Cash, and although No Cash do come into thier own much of the time, they lack the ska beats or black metal references which initially drew me to Leftover Crack. They are closer to Poison the Well than Emporer in thier heaviest moments, and there is only one ska beat on the record.
Luckily though, unlike Leftover Crack they dont write a minutes worth of material for a song and then build it up with samples and slogans. No Cash can write a good hook, and the musicians all gel very well together with many melodies defying the bleak messages and anger within the record.
A good example of this is 'Knowlege is Power' although it begins with a sample, No Cash don't require repeated choruses ad naseum in order to keep the song going. this has many guitar riffs cheekily chipping around Big C's vocal hooks, the instrumentals for this song also build into a ska beat and a thrashing hardcore tune towards the end, before thundering back into the final chorus as a closer.
'Skate or Die' begins with a melodic tune, which is reminiscient of Pop Punk bands playing thier one most meaningful song. Big C's vocals don't clean up for this part though, singing slow, soulfully yet still croaking his voice sticking with the 'Crack Rock'style.
'Pierce the Gates' stands out as the one song with a prominent ska beat. Although it begins with a heavy twisting guitar riff, it soon breaks into a fast paced ska rhythm, with Big C's croaky rapping keeping pace on top. This song switches evenly between this ska rhythm with Big C's raspy raps, and thrash with Big C roaring as scarily as he can. This song is one of the records highlights, and its concerned with something close to the band's hearts. This is about the corporate hold on American christianity, and the way some Christians are trying to control others with fear, power and money. Although thier screams of 'Burn a Church' annoy me quite a bit I can still enjoy it, as No Cash fans haven't taken it upon themselves to do so.
The Goonies may have become THE must have scenester irony badge of pride, but No Cash have used them as an unlikely and effective sample for 'A Better Tomorrow', more likely because it was a popular film when they were young, than they have seen other 'cool' people walking around in a fake faded Goonies T Shirt. The Goonies is actually about some children making money in an unconventional way in order to challenge a corporation who wish to flatten thier nieghbourhood. Within the liner notes there is a comparison in No Cash's general message of making money but not through the conventional American methods, taking inspiration from The Goonies, Scarface and Hip Hop.
In conclusion, if you have seen through Leftover Crack's musicianship, want some hardcore attitude and think you will enjoy half an hours heavy nihilism, this record is for you. However, if you are not a fan of the Crack Rock Steady style, then you won't find much to change your mind here.