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Review: JuiceheaD- How to Sail a Sinking Ship by jason
November 10, 2011, 9:00 am
Filed under: punk rock, Review | Tags:

JuiceheaD-How to Sail a Sinking Ship. Misfits Records, 2011.

Punk is dead.

There, I said it. Punk music, as a movement, is well past its expiration date. Appropriate, then, that JuiceheaD’s new album is called How to Sail a Sinking Ship.

I’m just going to save you the suspense here and say “I didn’t like this album.”

“But jason,” you say with emphasis on the lower-case “j,” “You don’t write negative reviews!”

That’s true. And if there was nothing redeemable here, I would have just ignored the album altogether. I didn’t start writing a music blog to be a snarky asshole who puts down the earnest efforts of others. The internet is full of THAT GUY. I am not THAT GUY. So, before I talk about the album and why I didn’t like it, I have to give you some context.

Punk music, and by that, I mean the punk music of the 1970s and early ’80s, was loud, shocking, and reactionary. Disco culture covered everything with a fine dust of cocaine and glitter. Someone had to stand up and say, “This is not OK!” Groups like the Sex Pistols and The Ramones came out made that stand.

In the early ’90s, you could make the case that punk had returned in the form of Nirvana and their ilk, saying that the late 80s hair metal, as well as the glossy pop music, was a nightmare. I would argue that this was not punk, though it had echoes of punk. However, Punk finished saying what it needed to say. It’s been done.

Because of this, Punk Rock is kind of like Folk Music; it’s a musical style embraced by revivalists, but it’s like Latin. It’s a dead language.

So, yeah. JuiceheaD. It looks like Punk. It smells like Punk. It sounds like Punk. It is performed by talented musicians who know what sound they are trying to achieve, and they achieve it. The problem here, though, is threefold.

First, as I said, Punk is reactionary. JuiceheaD makes some vaguely reactionary claims in “Death of Democracy” and “The Fire that Always Burns,” but the thing is…there was a time where speaking out against the government, or against a political ideology, or against the condition of society in general was controversial. When the Sex pistols tried to play “God Save the Queen” on the Thames during the Jubilee, they were doing a thing. Now, any asshole with an internet connection can shout as loudly as they want about the evils of society. A punk song about the government today is as powerful as Boy George singing “War is Stupid.” This is not JuiceheaD’s fault.

Secondly, they have this “We’re rock n’ roll” attitude, which is fine, even ideal, but…the lead singer reminds me of Vince Neil. Now, honestly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, and a lot of people will put this in the plus column. I hate Motley Crue. That’s my baggage, though.

Thirdly, and this is something I can fault the band for, some of the lyrics are kind of juvenile. Now, I know it’s Punk Rawk, and I know that it’s not supposed to be high brow, but take for instance, “Lorraine”:

Goodbye, Lorraine
I hope you’re doing well.
Goodbye, Lorraine,
I hope you burn in Hell!

It’s just clumsy. And later, when vocalist Rob Vannice describes drowning Lorraine, I just couldn’t help thinking, “Really, Rob? That’s where you went with this?

I think that if Punk wasn’t so played out, or if the vocals didn’t remind me of a band I hate, or if the lyrics were just a bit more …well, either more intelligent or more shocking, I might have been really into this. There were just too many things I didn’t like. That said, it’s not a terrible album, and if you think that punk is still a living, breathing thing, then these guys are out there, doing it.

How to Sail a Sinking Ship is available through the Misfits Records website.



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