Great Lakes USA – Live Fast, Die Whenever

  • Bobby Gorman posted
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Great Lakes USA

Live Fast, Die Whenever - Black Numbers Records

Great Lakes USA is a relatively new punk act that has garnered quite a lot of attention over a short period of time.  Subscribing to the throaty bursts of bands like Strike Anywhere and the melodic song structure of Dillinger Four, the band’s immediate appeal to a wide range of punk pallets explains the community’s sudden interest.  Their debut full length, Live Fast, Die Whenever, showcases remarkably strong group dynamics for a band with little more to its name than a previous 3-song EP.

Roaring open with the hardcore heavy “No Girlfriends,” Great Lakes USA unapologetically throws listeners to deep waters.  These guys have some serious pipes, and they can really end their lines with belted fury.  With vocals as rough as a throat full of gavel, Great Lakes USA is sure to excite those who feel Hot Water Music has gone soft with time.  Songs like “I Sold My Soul Down The River” match each booming lyric with equally forceful riffs and the punch to the face that is drummer Mayrk Doyle’s unbridled enthusiasm.  In that regard, “Rambling Dudes Forever” exemplifies the Boston Massachusetts four-piece at its best, lacing the ensuing chaos with a sting of catchy, overarching guitar hooks and punkish breakdowns that erupt into an energetic solo outburst.

The album’s strength and commitment does however make for a fairly one-dimensional introduction to the band.  At this point Great Lakes USA feels like their sole purpose is to raise a ruckus and really get an audience to their feet.  A solid end result, but one that limits Live Fast, Die Whenever to the inconsequential fate implied in the title.  In other words, they haven’t quite reached the level of lyrical communication that congruent acts like Polar Bear Club have since aspired to.  But this is a band early in their career with that wisdom clearly yet to come.

Overall, Great Lakes USA has succeeded in breaking into an often-judgmental niche by giving their audience exactly what they want.  Each note forcefully booms from the stereo, the entire album playing out without as much as a pause (with the exception of the final twenty seconds of “Let’s Face It, This Sucks”).  It won’t be enough to carry them beyond this release without substantive growth, but Live Fast, Die Whenever is a perfect reminder as to the energy of young bands capturing the essence of their idols in its rawest state.