Thursday, June 29, 2006

My Republic

Posted on Thu, Jun 29, 2006 at 4:00 AM

My Republic
Label: Fat Wreck Chords
Length: LP
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: My Republic
Conventional wisdom suggests that political punk groups release prime material during Republican regimes. By contrast, Good Riddance peaked with its eloquently angry Clinton-era (1995) debut For God and Country. In the past decade, the Santa Cruz-based quartet experimented with metallic hardcore (Operation Phoenix) and relatively lightweight power-pop (The Phenomenon of Craving) before rediscovering gruffly melodic middle ground. My Republic contains Good Riddance's vintage flavors: midtempo chuggers with earnest group-hug choruses, and super-quick rants with galloping-steed drumbeats and wolf-whistle guitar slides. Rankin's once-serrated voice has become smoothly tuneful, compromising its intensity. He still writes some clever lines ('We are the ciphers of old/And we'll do as we're toldâ?�), but his lyrics seem dumbed-down compared to For God and Country's polysyllabic phrases ('cessation's redolence,â?� to quote one of dozens). My Republic disappoints only in comparison with the band's insurmountable inaugural effort, thus reinforcing another genre-specific aphorism: The early stuff is the best.

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