When a band claims Punk Rock music there are a few “musts” I immediately look for. No it doesn’t have to look pretty. No it doesn’t have to smell pretty. And no, it doesn’t need me to obtain some hope for humanity through their well thought out allegorical lyrics. It needs to be raw. It needs to be loud. And if hailing from the Bay Area, historically punk great with the likes of Bottom of The Hill and greats like Larry Livermore, it needs to hold its own.
When Blake, Stephen, Bryce and Justin* claimed Punk Rock under the moniker Strange Bloom (formerly Principle), I must admit I was rather hesitant. With my trepidation I stepped forth and rediscovered the essence of Punk and how it can be great, even on a minimal level. Through Strange Bloom, I got schooled.
I am going to come right out and say that the only thing I could find wrong with Strange Bloom’s debut release, via Urban Scandal Records, is that I wish it was slightly louder, slightly more aggressive and a little raunchier. Now if that is enough to turn you around, go ahead and grab your Anne Murray records and your double chai latte and hit pavement.
If you’re still with me, tell your mom I’m sorry for the Anne Murray stab. But the trio from The Bay have taken punk and brought it back to its roots. “Again” takes some aggression out as it builds the debut with a proper dose of heavy rock. “Habits” feels mid-90s last day of school, “Rafters” is the epitome punk misunderstood youth you know so well, and closer “I’ve Been” brings a punk mentality relevant with those who grew up on punk attempting to survive today’s world.
Simple chord progression, mixed with thumping bass licks and heavy assaults on the crash cymbal draw on the days of baggy jeans, ollies and concrete endless summers. The wondering, uncaring vocals aren’t lazy, they’re making a point. A point parents just don’t understand. They’ll never understand. Who do they think they are trying to tell us our music isn’t music it’s “just noise.”
Did I mention Strange Bloom covers Gin Blossoms?
Greg is a regular contributor and co-founder at Nanobot. He is currently digging through his closet to find all of his old skating clothes and trying to find his Gin Blossoms tape.