Glen Burnout Addresses The Death Of Tyre Nichols On “Behind A Badge And Gun”
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Currents - Sell The Heart Records
A slow haunting riff, heavy as hell bassline and a raised fist inducing “This is the end” is how Castles, the lead track from Currents, the latest full length (and first since signing for California label Sell the Heart Records) from LA punks Original Son kicks off and as you listen to the record, the phrase ‘start as you mean to go on’ repeatedly comes to mind. This trio really pack a punch and deliver an album of high-octane, high quality punk rock. Castles moves swiftly from that brooding start to deliver a full on punk n’roll banger about societies marginalized outcasts.
The title track is short at just over a minute long, but bloody hell does it make an impact. Firstly, I’ll admit to loving almost any song that build up to an impending crescendo that never quite comes and Castles does that brilliantly. I do doubt that the band intended this song to be so prescient when it was written; listening to “I guess we’re all just surviving, reaching our ships, the currents are pulling us apart” sum up the current state of the world and a lot people’s thoughts (including mine) on it pretty fucking accurately.
Parasite strays into pop-punk territory with a fantastic layered melody, Well’s Run Dry brings us back into classic punk rock territory with echoes of contemporaries like Anti-Flag and Social Distortion which is maybe unsurprising as it features guest vocals by Lou Koller (Sick of it All).
The band stumble a little when they move away from their punk rock core, The Avenues, Fire Away and Shelter are all solid tunes, but just not as memorable as the rest of the album. The Turnaround is the LP’s highlight for me, seamlessly moving from a slow, atmospheric start into a driving punk rock anthem telling a despairing tale of trying to find your way in a world full of lost hope buried in hooks and melodies and quite possibly one of the best placed punk rock guitar solos I’ve heard since Social Distortion’s Don’t Drag Me Down.
Overall there is a lot to love about Currents and upon multiple listens it just gets better and better and considering the richness and depth of the music, I had to keep reminding myself that they are only a trio. Let’s face it, it is difficult to make a straight up punk rock record sound new or fresh and whilst Original Son (Johnny Calderwood (guitar, vocals), Justin Chester (bass, vocals) and Jeff Robinson (drums)) may not have smashed any metaphorical musical border walls down here, they have succeeded in creating something in Currents that only gets better with multiple spins.
If I were a betting man, I’d wager that you won’t be reaching for the skip button, unless like me you are going back to The Turnaround over and over again.
‘Currents’ is out now via Sell The Heart Records and available through their bandcamp or physical versions direct through the label’s Big Cartel store.