VIRUS: System Failure: LP

The first proper Virus full length since 2002. I kind of thought the late ‘90s/early ‘00s Punkcore Records thing was something we should all be forgetting at this point, but this is an unexpected non-embarrassing return for a band from that scene. The first thing you’ll notice is that the record design is actually really good, and there are exactly zero spreads of the band showing off their hair or spiky jackets. Second, the music has moved in an unexpected direction, like they’ve retained all the elements of their old sound (lots of simple minor-key guitar riffs over the chord progressions, the pogo drum beat, et cetera) but adopted some more melodic components of No Idea bands. They honestly sound like they’ve listened to a lot of Dear Landlord the past few years. The lyrics are pretty straight forward, but address some actual political issues. It’s nice to see a band like this step gracefully into punk adulthood, hopefully retaining the interest of their older fans and possibly garnering relevance with a younger crowd. –Ian Wise (Evacuate, evacuaterecords.com)