PARDON US: Wait: LP/CD

It’s been some time coming, but Pardon Us has made the wait worthwhile as it finally unleashes its first long format release. There is so much to enjoy on Wait that it’s hard to know where to start. The guitar is sharp and edgy, the rhythm section is expansive yet neat, and the songs are blessed with some great socially and politically directed lyrics. It’s a refreshingly loose sound which provides a punchy accompaniment reminiscent of some of the politically charged bands like Stiff Little Fingers but also has an early Billy Bragg quality at times. Amongst the numerous standout tracks, my favorite is “It’s a Phil Ochs Kind of Day”—the title referring to the American protest singer/songwriter of the 1960s and 1970s—with the song questioning the benefit of fighting wrongs when often nothing can realistically be achieved. However, there remains a sense of determination to continue the struggle against oppression and that is the over-riding message I take from the song. It’s not all anger and fist shaking though, as the final track, “We Aren’t the Champions,” displays a keen sense of humor plus a massive dose of self-deprecation, which puts a smile on my face and is a fine way to close the album. One of the best records I’ve heard this year. –Rich Cocksedge (Everything Sucks, everythingsucksmusic.com / Johann’s Face, [email protected], johannsfacerecords.bigcartel.com)