Monday, February 13, 2012

Classics Of Love - Classics Of Love (Review)

All I must say is "how refreshing". I have gone way too long without hearing something new within this style. This album is something you haven't gotten a whiff of since the late 80s/early 90s. As a matter of fact, If I didn't know better, I would think this is an 80's hardcore record. This is Jesse Michaels', the brilliance behind the legendary Operation Ivy, newest project. It also includes various members of the California band, Hard Girls. It has such politically charged lyrics and fast hardcore punk tunes track after track. It is twenty-three minutes of minute and a half long tunes that are more socially aware than most of the music I hear being released today. You can't go wrong with that.

The rapid snare drum starting "What Of Shame" begins an album full of fast, shouty, hardcore punk tunes. And this song is no different. This song starts a thirteen track run of constant energy. This song seems to be about the different forms of corruption in modern life, and Michaels seems to summarize it very well.

"Castle In The Sky" is the first, out of very very few, ska songs on this record. And I must say, this sounds almost identical to some of Operation Ivy's music. This is not a bad thing. It is actually a blast from the past. It dabbed a smile immediately on my face. I forgot how much of a legend Michaels was until I spun this record for the first time.

The song "World Of The Known" returns to the hardcore punk aspect which the song "What A Shame" introduced to you, except this song takes it even further.It is faster, louder, and makes you want to fight even more! The song manages to state the complaints of a modern routine lifestyle perfectly in under two minutes...Well done, Michaels.

The next song, "Gun Show", is definitely one of the high-points on the album. It is a tad less heavy than some of the extremely heavy stuff, but it still has that same vibe that gets you pumped up. It has some very cool lines in it also. The best being "We stood at the very last edge of everything that had ever been said. Took a look at the people's archive. Nodded politely and chose the swan dive" This could actually be one of the best lines on the album because it does a great job showing his frustration.

"Stronghold" has another one of the best lines on the album. It explains "Life is a game where you see who can make the most money. Life is a game where you see who can get the most power.Who fucking cares?". That line pretty much sums up the whole song (it actually sums up the whole album pretty accurately). They're are a few awesome lines like that in this song. This is a very lyric heavy song.

"Moving Pictures" takes on more of old school hard rock style. Not my favorite track on the album, but it is still good. The lyrics hold up against the rest of the album, but it's just the fact that this song, for some reason, doesn't really seem like it fits in with the rest of the tracks. Still a pretty good song though.

"It Will Not Be Moved" successfully hops right back on track with the other hardcore songs.For a song with a duration only slightly over a minute, this song contains a lot of substance. This song carries the same descriptions as the previous hardcore songs on the album, which is a very good thing.

The next song is "Bandstand". It is the second and last ska song on the album. This song doesn't really sound like Operation Ivy as much as "Castle in The Sky" though. It sounds like a fresh new ska song. This expresses Michaels' dissatisfaction with the music industry in modern day. Which is so easily relate-able to me (and probably most people who are reading this). When I say that, you may be thinking "oh, another cliche band complaining about major labels", but it really doesn't come out like that at all. It strikes me as more a sophisticated look at the whole situation. When it's all said and done, "Kick The Bandstand Down!"

After that, comes "Would Be Kings". This is another song that carries over the same themes that run through the entire album. Mostly dealing with issues such as money,  power, and dissatisfaction with modern society. Overall, it is a pretty good song.

"Last Strike"'s main vocals are not sung by Michaels, which is the only song that way on the album. I am not positive, but it seems like each verse is sung by someone else in the band. If this is so, that is pretty cool.

"Light Rail" takes a more melodic approach to the style of this album. It has some nice lyrics packed within it. One that caught my attention immediately is "which came first, the animal or the zoo?". It is no brilliant line or anything, but it definitely makes you think, and that is what makes quality lyrics.

The next song is "Dissolve". It is the heaviest song on the album. I had heard this song prior to the album release, and absolutely loved it. Nothing has changed since then. This probably the best song on the record. I put on this track and I feel the need to instantly break something. Good punk rock songs can do that to you, I guess!

The last song is "We Need A Change". This song is a good way to sum up the album. It talks about continued topics such as corruption, the issues of corporations, and what seems as the longing for revolution. This song pretty much closes up the album by summarizing the issues addressed throughout the previous songs.

This may seem far fetched until you listen to the album, but I strongly believe that this is Jesse Michaels' strongest effort since Operation Ivy's Energy. He has made a lot of music since then, but nothing quite catches the energy (no pun intended) of this album. It, literally, sends you back to the old days of punk's beginning, which I did not have the satisfaction of living through. This album feels so perfectly jointed together with constant politically based two minute hardcore songs. For any fan of hardcore music, this album will be one of the best things to be released in a very long time!

Highlights : Gun Show, Bandstand, Dissolve

Music: 8 (Some of the best pure punk songs I've heard in a while)
Lyrics: 10 (politically charged heartfelt songs)
Artwork: 8 (most done by Michael's himself)

Overall : 8.5

Support The Band
Asian Man Records

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