The Shape of Punk to Come

Burning Heart/Epitaph

With so many good records around, sometimes it’s easy to forget what a really great record sounds like until one up and kicks you in the ass. Such is the case with The Shape of Punk to Come, a title that would be totally pretentious if the record it went along with wasn’t so damn great. Sweden’s own Refused play mature, tightly wound hardcore with brilliant, innovative twists and turns, yet it’s straightforward enough to totally rock out. It’s the way they drop into a smooth jazz bass line then lash out again with screams and guitars blazing, tight and just barely held in check. So many crazy transitions on this album, all executed with the utmost grace and musicianship. Smart and sassy meets ferocious and anthemic, catchy as all hell, with all sorts of textures and sounds and a whole heap of rock. Great lyrics and a dynamic vocal presence as well. It’s all about dancing, singing, screaming along. Hell yeah.

This is one of those records that flows so well it’s hard to imagine skipping around between songs. Songs segue nicely into one another via jazz, electronics, and so on; others just fit naturally. The album starts off going for the throat and closes with two moodier songs, the last one quiet and haunting. This is anything but your standard hardcore record. If only more were like this.

“Refused Are Fucking Dead” — the ninth track and the cold truth. They played an amazing show when they came through with Frodus a couple months ago, but apparently that was their last tour as they broke up right before the domestic version of this was released on Epitaph. Hopefully all the members will stay active musically and bring their ideas to new projects. Epitaph Records, 2789 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90026

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