ROUGH KIDS: The Black White and Grey: LP

May 15, 2023

This isn’t exactly street punk. And this certainly isn’t pop punk. But it kinda sounds like what street punk might sound like if you took a Buzzcocks 45 and spun it at 33. It’s mid-tempo and undeniably weighty, but it’s got those Buzzcocky chords—high, ringing, minor-key-sounding things (NOTE: I’m not much of a guitar player so this chordal analysis has not been vetted for accuracy)—despite being saddled with the gravitational burden of relatively dour vocals and lyrics. In places, it seems a bit like Iron Cross playing Skids songs (if Iron Cross were actually good musicians in a decent studio, which they weren’t), but this band sounds so little like either Iron Cross or the Skids that I am hesitant to make such an observation lest those who skim reviews for convenient touch points get the wrong idea. This is certainly a well-done record, but it doesn’t put much of a lift in my loafers, and every aspect of this record other than the vocals is improved by playing it at 45 instead of 33, at which point it sounds like the Chipmunks backed by Radio Birdman. That seems like kind of a niche demographic, but for all I know there’s a collector community out there dedicated to scarfing up records that sound better on the wrong speed, to whom this record might be the sweetest of all possible nectars. Cool cover. BEST SONG: “Breakdown.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Do the Drug.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: “Breakdown” is not the Buzzcocks song, although that would have been cool if it were. –Rev. Nørb (Dirt Cult, dirtcultrecords.com)

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