Another Instant Classic from the East Bay
Jesse Michaels knows how to make a comeback. Classics of Love's self-titled debut album was released on Feb., 14th, 2012 on Asian Man Records, and it does not dissapoint. This is the band's first full-length album since forming in 2008, having released only a 6 song EP, Walking in Shadows, in 2009. The band boasts some of the most influential musicians in the East Bay punk scene, and considering the area's fruitful punk history, that's saying something. Max Huguenor of Shinobu, Morgan Herrell and Max Feshbach from Pteradon, and the icing on the cake, Jesse Michaels of Operation Ivy, form the body of COL. This record is sure to rekindle the idea that "punk's not dead", creating faith in an otherwise dismal music scene.
Classics of Love features 12 tracks sure to rattle your bones. Songs like "What a Shame" and "Bandstand" are reminiscent of the Operation Ivy-style sing-alongs of old, while other tunes like "Dissolve" and "Last Strike" feature the gritty d-beat style punk that revolutionized the genre in the early 80's. One of the more interesting tracks featured on Classics of Love is the tenth; "Light Rail." This song features a complex form that is very unlike Operation Ivy, Pteradon, or Shinobu's straightforward beats. Rather, Classics of Love take a cacophony of sound and transforms it into a melodic jam with a hook that eerily resembles Elton John's "Saturday Night's Alright (for Fighting)". The album's final track, "We Need a Change" is a breath of relief for Op-Ivy's fans, seeing that Jesse Michaels' ability to create powerful lyrics and present them in a manner that riles reveille within the scene is still prominent 24 years since he first appeared at 924 Gilman Street.
Nothing is perfect, however, and this record is no exception. Track 6, titled "Moving Pictures" is a disappointing attempt at a "poppy" song by this hardcore quartet. Imagine Cannibal Corpse doing Sonny and Cher covers; it's not a pretty picture. The song is extremely repetitive and only offers one break from its redundant nature: a sub-par breakdown into a simple solo that even Franché Coma would scoff at. It's also a disappointment to see the band didn't utilize its strong ska roots further, only featuring a heavy ska influence in two of the twelve songs. Although it is not flawless, Classics of Love is a step-up from other new releases influential punk bands like Rancid's largely lame 2009 effort Let the Dominoes Fall, NoFX's disappointing Coaster, or even Bad Religion's less-than-stellar New Maps of Hell.
This album is a definite must for those of you who want to cry every time Skrillex releases a new song, or Phish comes off another hiatus. If you regularly wake up with a broken nose from that gnarly concert last night, this album is guaranteed to rock your socks and split your wig. If you also couch-dive to scrounge up $2.00 in change so you can buy another pack of rolling tobacco, you can listen to the record for free at Pure Volume.
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