Successful Attempts at Failure
Is punk dead? That’s a question often asked. Since former indie punk rockers Green Day and the Offspring landed on the pop charts over a decade ago, the original anti-corporate stance of punk has been seriously questioned. However, nobody seems to remember that the three most respected and influential punk groups of all time –the Ramones, the Sex Pistols and the Clash — were signed to major labels. Nevertheless, the “punk is dead” crowd do have a point in terms of selling out stylistically. After all, Blink-182 and their peers are hardly confrontational, merely giving their sophomoric bubblegum grunge a little dose of snot. Random55, on the other hand, are true punks.
Random55 sing from the same boulevard of broken dreams as Green Day, but with a more grounded and stinging sense of reality. Maximilian Labriola’s voice is rough and incendiary, not annoying; he truly sounds like someone with a chip on his shoulder and not just a court jester. On “Nobody’s Fool,” Labriola offers a jolting alternative to the merciless self-pity of today’s commercial punk rock as he finds the strength within himself to not take any more shit and move on: “And you, you can’t hold me down/ I’m too strong to be bound.”
This six-track CD rockets past the speed limit yet it retains a strong sense of melody, a la Bad Religion and Social Distortion. “Hollow Prayer” hits the pedal to the floor like a brake-less car but it’ll also make you tap your feet, and probably not since Husker Du has there been a combination of metallic crunch, brevity and toe-tapping impact as effective as the absolutely slamming “Bulletproof.”