Review Summary: On Good Riddance's 7th record, the band continues to follow the more melodic direction from their last record, but in doing so sound archaic and dated. While there are standouts to be found, the majority of the tracks blend together and do not impress.
It’s inevitable. Sometimes, an album comes out from a veteran band, and you just question as to why this band is still going. It certainly cant be because of money, at least in the case of veteran melodic hardcore unit Good Riddance
, who are noted anti-capitalists and as evidenced by their landmark Operation Phoenix
LP, really don’t create music that would be acceptable to the majority of the listening population out there today. Quite notorious in the underground punk scene for their extremely leftist politics which shine through quite brilliantly on their first few discs thanks to powerful front man Russ Rankin, Good Riddance is pretty much the last band you would ever expect to dumb down their music for the acceptance of the listening population. Unfortunately, it’s a sad truth on the latest disc from San Francisco’s favorite hardcore band Good Riddance.
In all honesty, this change should have been more than a little bit expected after the decidedly more melodic direction that their last record, Bound By Ties of Blood and Affection
, took. Sounding more akin to Bad Religion
and The Descendents
on that disc than their earlier records which are more comparable to Sick of it All
, it should have been obvious that this trend would only continue into their long awaited 7th full length for mega indie label Fat Wreck Chords.
In all honesty, Good Riddance hasn’t lost their touch musically, although some of the songs on here are certainly departures from either of their previously established sounds. Shame
is a steady midpaced rocker filled with plenty of introspective lyrics from iconic front man Russ Rankin. Sounding almost like the Descendents circa Everything Sucks
, Rankin’s powerful and dynamic voice takes the lead, spouting out almost lyrics about feeling completely empty and numb on the inside when he looks at how depressing the world really is. Needless to say, Shame
, while being a departure from their typical style proves that maximum impact can be achieved even better when the guitars aren’t cranked up to 11.
is another one of the few standout tracks on My Republic
. Again, its decidedly more melodic than much of Good Riddance’s earlier work, but it also packs the most emotional potency on the album, surpassing even Shame
. It speaks of Rankin missing his wife while on tour (which was pretty much 11 months out of the year in the bands heyday) and his desires for her to be with him. Although it sounds cliché, one cannot deny that this is Rankin at his most honest and personal on the record. While both his vocal and lyrical performances on Boise
are both noteworthy, it’s the music that holds it together wonderfully. Blissful, yet melancholy octave chords drive the rhythm of the song with solid drumming throughout, Boise
again shows that some of Good Riddance’s best moments are those where they are at their most accessible.
Unfortunately, the highlights of this album are few and far between. For the emotional impact and excellent musicianship that accompany both Shame
, its safe to say that the rest of the album falls under the category of merely “good”, or “Bad Religion did this on Against the Grain”. Probably the hardest tracks to digest are those where Good Riddance seem like they are playing music for the sake of playing music, with no real purpose or intention.
Front man Russ Rankin regularly cites Bad Religion as Good Riddance’s biggest influence. Unfortunately, this worship takes a turn for the worst on My Republic
, where at some points its nearly impossible to differentiate the two bands, for better (Out of Mind
) and for worse (Torches and Tragedies
When they aren’t busy unapologetically ripping off Bad Religion, and making three excellent tracks, Good Riddance also enjoys making sub par melodic hardcore that pales in comparison to the majority of bands out there. The tracks in between Darkest Days
are nearly indistinguishable from one another, resulting in that dreaded feeling of musical deja vu. Unfortunately, the same feeling weighs down the end of the album at well, albeit in a higher frequency, and concluding with the absolute shi
tpile of Uniform
, which honestly sounds like it could have been ripped right off of Good Charlotte
’s second album.
For a melodic hardcore band to survive nowadays, it requires something more than in did in the early to mid 90’s, when the genre was just an infant. It takes much more that just fast guitars, machine gun drumming, and mildly political lyrics to stand out in an overly populated scene whose sound is expanding faster than record labels can sign bands. Unfortunately, My Republic
falls victim to sounding dated in a genre of near constant innovation, and while it’s standout moments leave hope that this band may still have something left in the tanks, the remainder of its tracks drag this record to being purely average.
Tell Me Why
Out of Mind