Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Yalla Yallas - Act Of Defiance

It's been done before, but it's so damn good, it demands to be heard: punk rock demands fresh young blood. Generations after Joe Strummer at the same time belted out his anti-establishment, anti-racist, anti-military message whilst also feeling jaded at catapulting the genre into the mainstream, he would have been happy to hear that there is still truly underground punk rock n roll happening, and they share his message: Keep it real, fuck the system, put your faith in the kids, don't hate each other.

The Yalla Yallas manage to stay faithful to the ever-present punk scene, "burning the city streets tonight", yet colour their adoption of the style with a modern take on things. A fierce rejection of drugs and the hippie culture was a strong point for The Clash, yet in these modern times punks think slightly differently. "I never was an addict, I can take it or leave it." is a lyric from the second song that stands out in my mind and highlights how the punk scene has morphed. In general, it has morphed towards more acceptance of things, which I think is positive. Yet another path broke off from the Clash / Sex Pistols Era, warping the original message into the sort of narrow mindedness that allowed ugly things to work their way into the punk scene, namely Neo-Nazism.

The lyrics of this album are all up-beat "Can we do it again?" / "I've never seen a girl like you before", etc. Certainly disestablishmentarian at times (after all, the album is called "Act Of Defiance"), yet it's more about good, fun times and music, and never about hating. I think this positive message is exactly what seperates a truly good modern punk rock band like The Yalla Yallas from bands who still cling onto skewed notions of pure anarchy and hatred.

Anarchy will never reign; as a message it is pointless, and racism is just stupidity. Yet music will always be there, and as long as bands like The Yalla Yallas continue to attach a positive message to their music, and stay underground, even genres as old as punk rock will remain fresh and bright-eyed, and change with the times, towards a better future for all.

Good, fun, rock n roll. Get into it.

Available from The Yalla-Yallas homepage.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Hi-Nobles - Shake

Music doesn’t have to be original to be good, particularly in the case of bluesy rock. In this age where synthesiser and software technology is getting sharper by the minute, it’s very refreshing to hear a 12 bar blues progression, and to hear it done faithfully, and with passion. The 12 bar blues, the pentatonic riff, that perfect amount of guitar distortion: these things will never die.

The Hi-Nobles carry off their highly polished blues rock sound with more than just finesse, it has an amazing sense of soul, mainly highlighted by the singer’s fantastic, up front, slightly gravely, and simply irresistibly bluesy voice. Wow I just used three adjectives in front of the word “voice”. This band, and this album, deserve many positive adjectives, so I’m just gonna throw them into the melting pot: energetic, fun, rockin’, rollin’, rambunctious, paced, tight, shakin’, uplifting, intelligent, and last but not least, musical.

I choose that last adjective as the most important because being musical, and more specifically; naturally, effortlessly musical, is something that some bands just don’t have. The Hi-Nobles know exactly where a chord should go and how the bass and organ should drive it, the singer knows exactly what notes he’s hitting and how they should be intoned and the drummer knows where to add a flair or a fill. Throughout the whole album they never once falter. This ease of musicality is what makes this album so damn fun to listen to. Just listening to the roaring solos, the driving organ, the rolling toms and crashes, you can almost see the smiles on the musician’s faces as they play. These guys breathe, drink and eat music for breakfast, you can just tell they’ve been doing it a long time and it pours so effortlessly from their fingers.

It rocks, it rolls, it bluesifies. It is the essence of good music in a bottle. Drink it up.

The Hi-Nobles at MySpace