I have to admit that I don’t know much about the Grabass Charlestons. I’m sure that for many Razorcake readers, they are a well-known favorite. All I knew of the band was that they were a punk band on No Idea Records from Florida. I expected them to be silly, juvenile, and write equally immature songs. But I like it when my expectations are broken for the better. The Grabass Charlestons have put together twelve songs for thirty-six minutes of solid punk that shows that they are capable of writing songs that can bear some sort of message and include an array of influences beyond their punk rock base. While Dale & The Careeners is certainly a punk-influenced album, I keep hearing a slight bit of country influence as well as some southern rock through a number of the songs. I’m sure some may say Will Thomas’s voice sounds just like this or that guy, but it seems wholly original to me and made the band stand out from the morass that can often exist in punk rock. While it may seem that Dale & The Careeners is a concept album, as the band has said, it’s more a take on the American condition. The songs seem to often deal with a guy named Dale and his situation with drugs, working at the Flying J, and baseball, amongst other things. Other songs don’t mention him at all. So, I’m not sure what to make of the lyrics, but they certainly aren’t juvenile. Dale & The Careeners shows a mature band that knows what they’re doing and isn’t afraid to move past stereotypes that may have held some bands back from achieving an album that they should be proud of.
–kurt (No Idea)