Jul 25, 2018

There are “old” bands tapped into the punk nostalgia cottage industry that are content to earn a little Christmas money playing nothing but the oldies at the odd gig now and then, and there are the bands who prefer to still work at being a collective creative endeavor. The Adolescents not only fall into the latter category, they continue to be a vital voice in the underground while maintaining a consistent level of quality output that is a rarity even among newer bands, let alone one that’s been plugging away at it at different intervals for nearly forty years. Much like their last effort, Manifest Density, things largely continue down a trajectory that adds a wee bit of “rock” to a trademark, influential hardcore punk template hardwired with dual-octave leads, devastating riffs, assorted tempos, and crack musicianship. Tony remains in fine form, howling out topical, pointed lyrics that address, and often dress down, the current demagogue-in-chief and the larger social (dis)order while Steve and the boys lay down one ripping musical base after another. The collective results here are a consistently strong, effective album, quite possibly the best they’ve dropped this decade. Nostalgia is fun in small doses, but, given the choice between the safety of a perpetual wallow in a static, unchanging past and supporting crucial work from vets who remain rooted in the reality of right now, I’m gonna go with the latter every single time. –Jimmy Alvarado (Concrete Jungle)