Seattle, WA's Sun Spots make distorted punk with a pop tinge that's meant to get stuck in your head. On their new…
Doc Rotten – Unite Resist
Unite, Resist - Working Class Productions
Doc Rotten are a four piece band from Trenton, New Jersey who have been together since around 2017, this is their second full album, and follows their self financed 2018 debut, Illusion To Choose. Doc Rotten are new to me, but as soon as the opening anthemic riff of the aptly titled Intro, I’m hooked, which is quite a feat, given my distaste for instrumental songs… however, I’ll make an exception for Intro, which is the best I’ve heard since Social Distortion’s Road Zombie from 2011’s Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes… In fact Social Distortion are a good touchstone for the general style of Doc Rotten.
Next up is the clearly biographical 15 Years, which bounces along at a great pace, and details the trials and tribulations of trying to stay true to a movement, whilst also looking to spread their collective wings. This song manages to sound wistful and defiant at the same time, and it is this same “underdog” attitude which informs Out Of Luck, and indeed Open Your Eyes. It is the same view on society which both Dropkick Murphys and Street Dogs have employed to great success throughout their respective careers. Hopeless continues in the same vein, and although a good song, I’m starting to tire of the vibe. However, next up is Psych Ward 103, which has pop sensibilities and hooks enough to catch anything in the sea, whilst still managing to sound “punk”…great stuff, and along with 15 Years, and Hero are the highlights of a cracking record. There’s also a video for Psych Ward 103, so I guess it’s what we non-millennials might call a “single”.
Hero is next and is again packed with angsty lyrics, and hooks aplenty. It’s at this point that the realisation that this album is starting to have an embarrassing wealth of well played, well paced, singalong songs that I’d love to see in a live sweaty club hits me square in the face like a suckerpunch. This album is invigorating stuff, and I’m grinning like a loonie, and I’m only half way through. Dirty Hands, Dirty Money has a lyric which Street Dogs would be proud of, and tells of the plight of the blue collar worker, in a tongue in cheek kinda way, with it’s loveable rogue lyrics. The title song Unite, Resist boots the door in, and threatens to beat all non-believers to a pulp. Empire reflects on the failure of the capitalist dream, with Wes dreaming of a day when the American dream is revealed to be the American nightmare experienced by so many.
Take A Stand continues the bully boy tactics, but this time employs a twin vocal attack, and is a breathless 90 seconds of vitriol. There’s a slight dip in form with the fairly standard Robots And Mannequins, which is a quick burst of energy, but doesn’t offer much in the melody stakes. The final four songs, starting with Drowning, and finishing with Hypocrites, return to the excellent “feel good, even though we’re fucked” feel which this album is drenched in.
If you’re looking for musical innovation, thought provoking lyrics or relaxing sounds, then look elsewhere, but if you like your punk served hot, fast and sweaty, then you could do a lot worse than Doc Rotten. This album is delivered at a furious pace, but with an ear for melody, and as said previously would translate well in a live environment. It is the sort of record you could play to get you in the mood for a night out, or a collection of songs which will coax a smile out of all but the most downhearted amongst us. Recommended for fans of Social Distortion, Green Day and Dropkick Murphys.
You can pre-order Unite Resist on vinyl here