These legends of ‘77 have returned with a new record, and truth be told, I found it to be pretty rockin’. There isn’t much to say about the musical content specifically—mid-tempo spirit of ‘77 punk‘n’roll. But not stale. It comes off, for good or ill (may the listener decide), as a soundtrack for the aging punker. There are overtly political songs about social ills and governmental endeavors (thank you, Chelsea, for reminding me that England’s men and women are dying in Iraq as well). But the overall concern appears to be the supremacy of music as a prime mover in the life of the individual; only a couple of songs focus on this theme overtly, but the very fact that Chelsea has taken the time to put out a new record, and a good one at that, makes this supremacy of music a subtext underlying all of the songs on the record. Consider: “Sod the War,” an overtly political song, is in fact a song. Chelsea has used music as a vehicle for their thoughts and ideas, even at a later stage in life when most people are willing to sit in their chair and pop off a letter to the editor that may well never even be read. While often it comes off as entirely hokey for a “legend” to put out a new record years down the road, this is one of the few cases that I’ve seen in which the “legend” status actually adds great flavor to the stew. Maybe it’s because the record appears to have sincere motivations in wanting to rock, or maybe it’s because the record just rocks.
–Eric Carlson (TKO)