Sunday, 26 January 2014

Rad - Loud & Fast

Deadly and gleeful, Rad drop-in with the skatethrash speedcuts of the likes of Jellyroll Rockheads or BBQ Chickens. Twenty songs in ten explosive minutes. On Sacramento records.

Despite proclaiming "I'm an adult/Do my laundry/Pay my taxes/I'm an adult" on I'm an Adult, and Banned in Circus Heights focusing on the trudge of everyday worklife, the album as a whole is an affirmation of adolescent energy, alternately goofing off and steaming about the blatant hypocrisy of it all. Even the song Banned in Circus Heights ends in this triumphant singalong of "I GOT UP FOR WORK TODAY!" that sounds like it's a personal mantra reaffirming to yourself that you are actually not fifteen anymore because sometimes you can't quite believe that shit. We all know that one, not sure anyone I know ever feels properly adult, always constantly surprised when you have to do some real life shit like write a cheque or talk to somebody who fixes things for a living.

That's the rail that Rad balance on, the place where you're trying to get by not slipping into the worst parts of teenage mopeyness and cynicism, but also trying to retain that teenage passion and clarity in the face of people your age rapidly transmogrifying into better-in-the-old-days caricatures. So it runs yes on that adolescent energy, but it's clearly consciously mining that and using it as fuel and guidance for these catchy 40 second punk smashes, rather than letting it run chaotic and wild. It's got the carve and punch of a Nunfuckers or Some Old Bullshit-era Beastie Boys, but it's focused and tight, not sloppy stupid and sticky nasty. It keeps things taut.

So it makes you feel like a part of a real cool teen crew who are constantly caught twixt outrage at society's many ills and dumb dumb jokes. Songs switch up between silly pursuits like S.I.M.P.L.E.'s ode to hotdogs, and more pressing matters like Corporate Drugs, and even within the songs like Corporate Drugs that it attacks those issues more with sophomoric taunts and facetious insults like "We're Clariton clear, you're full of shit!" than with cohesive well-argued (read: boring) points. "Moshing is our medicine!" it crows. You've gotta believe a line like that, sung with that conviction. Times when you're hanging out and feel like you can set the world to right with your puerile friends, but really you just wanna make those idiots laugh with a quick oneliner or an exaggerated impression of some dickbag you all know and loathe.

All the burns and choruses feel like inside jokes you've been let into, Legacy of Bro-tality just screaming "AQUALUNG!" as if that says everything you need to know about some shitty dude (and it totally does). In Never Turn Your Back (On a Mosh) it goes ""Strike the spike in the pit" my mother said, but she never moshed in a circle pit", reinforcing the message (such as it is) of the anti-porcupine-in-the-pit PSA Strike the Spike, in the This Is Rad 7" version of that same tune the line is ""Cover your tits in the pit" my mother said, but she never moshed in a circle pit" referencing that release's far more realistically helpful Cover Your Tits In the Pit. But really the point is that your friends constantly bitching sarcastically about some fantastical prevalence of porcupines at punk shows to the bemusement of those not in the tight little clique, or shouting "COVER YOUR TITS IN THE PIT!" at each other constantly is exactly the sort of semi-secret garagewit argot that develops when you roll with a group of teenage punx, prickling with insecurity and violence and frustration.

They construct this little rebel world of fallabout thrashskate moments, living in the pit and in empty pools they cruise around, celebrating hotdogs and D&D, the little shared joys that make existence real cool for an evening or so, offering takedowns of bros and creeps and Megadeth and people who call the cops on houseshows (Don't Call the Cops also includes a bit where they make a silly siren sound, thus confirming that Rad are a good punk band), the annoying tagnuts that drag you down and make you feel extra bummed on life. Fuck those things, pound them down with the sort of worn-in LL Cool J reference that begins Creep-Out Crew that all your friends will love, drown them out with the sound of 30 second balls of righteous hardcorepunk about how your town is totally rad, and for a moment it totally is.

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