D.O.A.: Hard Rain Falling: CD

The decades-long love affair between D.O.A. and I has been… rocky. Up to War on 45 I considered them all but untouchable, a position I still staunchly defend. After that, things get a bit problematic, first with the creeping influence of very bad ‘80s rock—both in sound and production—then a succession of spotty records albatrossed with an exasperating insistence on including terrible ska punk filler—and by filler I mean a half-album’s worth in some cases—and a seemingly endless assortment of repackaged, reordered, and resoundingly pointless compilations, collections, and themed concoctions. Mind you, it’s not that I didn’t want them to grow and expand their palette, and there were definitely some interesting moments peppered in through the years, but what was coming out seemed more like uninspired paint-by-numbers than one of the most ferocious punk bands ever to stomp terra pushing at boundaries. Ever the optimist, I remained undeterred, picking up every release I came across in the hopes that they would come around and remember what once made them so goddamned crucial. Some glimmers of hope shone through with the Talk-Action=0 album of a few years back, a mostly solid release, but this bad boy here is easily their most keyed in and consistent album in decades. The chutzpah, the feral swagger, and Joey’s snarl are in abundance on tunes that go right for your inner “fuck yeah!” button and set you careening off the nearest wall. Lyrical subject matter is topical and right on the money without coming off as preachy or slogan-heavy, and, hell, even the cover of The Slickers’ song “Johnny Too Bad” is inspired in its delivery, relying more on the hint of Caribbean rhythms than going for full-ska mode. Faboo this is, a release worthy of their good name and formidable reputation. 

 –Jimmy Alvarado (Sudden Death)