BAD REACTION: Symptoms of Youth: CD

Los Angeles punk with enough pops and stops to avoid the straight-up blasé hardcore tag: at least to this listener. Nice instrumental interplay here and there, healthy use of backgrounds vocals, all that stuff. The majority of the songs are pointed rants against jaded scenesters, rumor-mongers, Hollywood livin’, and folks who don’t think for themselves. They only stray into meathead territory once or twice (there is the requisite song about someone who has “crossed” the singer one too many times), and they shift gears here and there, like the reggae-infused intro to “Murder in Jamaica” and the last tune pronouncing the band’s love for, uh, Gatorade. They steer themselves into a few moments that generally detract from the overall power of the album (Like I said: Gatorade, guys? Come on.) but as a whole, it’s definitely a decent attack, and the nice cover art by Alex McVey and the black/white/yellow color scheme makes this fucker look like a long lost ‘80s gem. This type of shit’s generally too bland for me, too paint-by-numbers, but Bad Reaction’s smart enough musically to know when to go straight for the throat and when to stand back and let the momentum build. Nice work, for the most part.

 –keith (Destroy All )