The Plexikill – Taking the Hard Way Back Home

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews

The Plexikill

Taking The Hard Way Back Home - Fallen Angels Records

According to the press release accompanying melodic punk rock trio The Plexikill’s debut LP, Taking The Hard Way Back Home, all eleven tracks were “recorded and mixed entirely on analog machines and without the aid of digital enhancement.”  While the band certainly isn’t anything beyond straightforward 90’s rooted melodic punk rock, I remain aghast over the apparent love and skill defining the release.  Fact is, the album sounds like it could have come from a time capsule, perfectly preserving the spirit of what many people consider the Epitaph Records and Fat Wreck Chords “glory days.”

To be sure, listeners looking for something new will likely walk away disappointed, but those willing to embrace the past at its peak will find a hidden gem well worth a good many spins.  Taken as a whole, The Plexikill takes the steady melodies of Bad Religion, mixes them with obnoxious NOFX-like vocals, and spunks them up with the fun loving attitude of The Buzzcocks.  It’s a timeless sound featuring few tricks and simple fun.

The album opens with the easily appreciable “ We’re Not Dead,” an oddly appropriate title likely referring more to the album’s sound than the new band’s as of now short existence.  From here The Plexikillcontinues along with a series of highly repetitive toe tappers including “We Don’t Like You,” “Not Afraid To Hit The Ground,” and the title track.  Each track features Alfredo Gonzalez’s snotty vocal flare, propelled with a stream of steady guitar riffs, and quickened cymbal laced drumming.  And when Steve Vallera’s bass pipes up, it reminds me of any number of bands like The Challenged or Chixdiggit.  Across the album the band seldom strays from the comfort of the standards established by those prior.  Most songs feature intense title loops where the same lyrics (mostly political – see “Morals, Bibles, And Guns” – but also self aware – circa “My Favourite Song” or their cover of The Buzzcock’s incredibly truthful “Harmony In My Head”) come to define any given moment.

One might think all the musical and vocal loops might wear thin after the first few runs, but the pairing’s catchy execution ensures that all eleven tracks remain just as singable as the last.  And it’s far from a case of regurgitation.  Even upon hearing familiar phrases a close listen reveals a combination of subtle tempo shifts and key changes – a move stemming any sense of unwanted repetition.

Taking The Hard Way Home might not stand out terribly from many labels’ banks of mid 90’s melodic punk rock, but as far as modern interpretations go, The Plexikill provide a faithful take on a now classic sound.