Redwood City Allstars
With a sound that sometimes draws upon bands that range from snarling Feederz, carnivalesque Throwrag, and weirdo Crucifucks to message-heavy, experimental False Prophets, the band uses plenty of biting social and political commentary, which is all tied to a feisty, throbbing, mutant punk attack. "Adderall" unharnesses a bellowing lyrical tirade, meaty mid-paced musical dissonance, and smooth spoken-word warnings about the product, which is in stark contrast to the tune's noisy, feverish thrash. No doubt, they suggest, America's real dope problem is the total craving and addiction to pharmaceuticals to mend our fucked-up feelings about self, family, work, and everything else.
Best title may go to "Coughing Up Butterflies," which exhumes dire feelings of being stuck and alienated in the conformist world: "stuck inside my little room ... I never know what day it is," they sing with harrowing, guttural bellows. The song is a dramatic, gnarly rocker, with a grinding energy that is relentless and never caves into sheer speed. Imagine Jesus Lizard smashing headlong into Murphy's Law. It is distinct, driving, and powerful.
Meanwhile, they borrow some heavy rhythm from warped reggae on Man Overboard, before they unleash their raucous rocknroll here and there in the tune, like a reminder of their wall-to-wall powerage. Meanwhile, truthteller Mid Life Crisis is a hellacious pounder describing the chokehold of pollution, gobbled pills, and modern ways of unsatisfying life.
And just in case you crave a surprise, they unleash a raspy, hoarse, bastardized version of The Metro by once-seductive Berlin, in which the keyboard-thronged new wave becomes armed with heavy riffage, feral energy, and seedy urgency. And even the closer offers some dark, pummeling, cowpunk mania, with incredible sinewy bass lines, on The Pony Express Rides Again, which is a frenzied stampede.