PERMANENT BASTARDS: Emericans: CD

There’s a sort of new school of punk (hell, maybe that’s what I’ll call it: nü-punk) that seems to be pretty present now. Music that seems to be really influenced by Against Me! and the more basic rock sound of current No Idea Records bands. Fortunately, they don’t necessarily have to suck as bad as Against Me! (And all apologies to Permanent Bastards if Against Me! is not an influence.) Passionate, at times folky, and indie singey at other times, but still very punk. It’s like a new generation thing,you might say, and I’m down with it when it’s done well, even if I won’t be listening to this kind of thing often. (The genre, anyway. I probably will come back to this band.) The lyrics on Emericans range from being overtly political to socio-political, which provides a pretty good balance. The lyrics are actually what carry the album, driving out a damaged, youthful hope. The lead singer’s voice is off-key and sort of, well, weak. Which gives the songs a sincerity when he belts out the choruses the best he can but it has none of that Leatherface/Hot Water Music-biting, if-you-sing-it-gruffly-enough-it-will-sound-like-we-mean-it trend in punk. Instead, it really pretty much has to grow on you. The rest of the band’s gang vocals help him out with choruses and some whoah-oh-ohs here and there, which works out well. This is a great punk album, the kind my music snob roommate would dub “shitty punk rock,” the kind of punk that record geeks and hipsters who only swear by the classics of The Clash and The Fall would never quite get. Which means it’s a damn good punk album for the punks. I can definitely get behind this.

 –Craven (Self-released)