Archive for May, 2014

Day Two

The second day was less stressful and there built up a bit of a nervous excitement for Screeching weasel; I just couldn’t believe I was gonna see this band, that had affected my life in so many ways, live. The first band to be seen this Saturday was Snuff, the great British Punk band that has horn sections in their arrangement with a singing drummer and who made one of the best albums last year; .5-4-3-2-1 perhaps. They finished the set with “Arsehole” which might be their catchiest song and even though it was early in the evening a few people sang along. The next band would be ALL, a band that I haven’t paid much attention to except Mass nerder, but they played some great songs including “Until I say so”. I got two beers to drink before the screeching weasel set, which might not have been the best idea. I chugged the rest of the second beer when Ben went into their opening number “I’m Gonna Strangle You”. I had gotten a fanny pack to keep under my hoodie this time so that I could jump around as much as I could without losing my shit. I probably looked quite far right there, with my beer gut that was actually a fanny pack, chugging half my beer. I even got a shout out “This song goes out to a chubby little boy from Norway called René” and I got “Ashtray”; it was an amazing experience. The band played fantastically and Ben was on fire; well I mean that metaphorically, even though there was smoke in the pit and everyone had soot in their faces and we all left with black lungs and a cough, I have no idea what happened. Screeching weasel played for 50 minutes and tried to squeeze in as many classics as possible and the crowd were, even though a bit fewer people, about as energetic as at the NOFX set the night before and Screeching weasel did top them in performance too. This was the best show I’ve seen in my life and I’m sure few things can actually top this. We got to hear “My Brain Hurts”, “Science of Myth”, “Hey Suburbia”, “Joannie Loves Johnny”, “My Right” and the fantastic “I Wanna Be With You Tonight”. They finished with “Cool Kids” as a “fuck you” to all the punk rock scenesters. I never thought anyone would top NOFX, but Screeching weasel definitely did!

After that I got a Screeching weasel shirt even though they only had it in XXL and put it on top of my Descendents hoodie and felt even bigger, it was great! Next band up were New Found glory and I went around thirsty and tried to get the soot out of my face and out of my lungs and I started to get a little drunk and I tried to drink from the spring water at the festival and the guards said I could get sick the next day, but I didn’t seem to care much. I was shocked these guards hadn’t listened to Screeching weasel. New found glory played basically all the songs I wanted to hear from them and 13 year old René came to life again and this time he was old enough to get drunk. He would sing along to songs like “Sincerely Me”, “My Friends Over You” and “Forget My Name”, in fact “Forget My Name” was stuck in my head for weeks. It started to get dark quickly and on the Macbeth stage the Ska band The Toaster played and they put on a great show even though I had never heard any of their songs before. The last band of the entire festival were The Offspring, which had as large of an audience as NOFX, but people didn’t to me seem to go as nuts. Like NOFX the Offspring played their classic album from 1994, and for them that was Smash. For some reason, they played it in order, but put “Self esteem” last. The band sounded pretty good, but you could tell they were more “rockstars” than the rest of the bands playing with their “we love you guys” and “we’re so horny for you guys” speeches, that seemed kind of scripted, but their performance was pretty good even though it was far from the best one at the festival and they finished what was a great weekend full of cold beer, great music and nice food. The Currywürst and the Mexicano burger were awesome! An unforgettable time for sure, I can imagine myself still remembering Groezrock even when I sit around chewing my false teeth, shitting my pants and struggling to even remember my own name.



Black Everything cover art

When you first listen to opening track “Raging Through the Thick and Heavy Darkness of a Bloodlust”, with its heavy wall of distorted guitars and brooding, echo-y vocals, you almost question if this is really even Apologies, I Have None. And you realise that it most definitely is, but a new, moodier alt-rock Apologies, I Have None. The whole track essentially builds up to a big, cathartic, screaming, let-off of emotion: “I have turned away from everything that makes a person good”. The sounds on Black Everything is reminiscent of ‘90s alt-rock, or more recent post-rock, but whatever it is, it is pretty far from Apologie’s folk punk beginnings with songs about sitting in Vicky Park. This is dense, thick, miserable stuff. I mean, their first LP London wasn’t exactly a walk in the park (see what I did there), but this takes Apologies’ self-depreciation to a whole new level. It’s like a Morrissey-fronted punk band, if he was a more direct songwriter: Apologies’ writing has become self-critical and confessional to a level where it is almost uncomfortable to listen to. We hear about their routines of “Coffee, Alcohol, Codeine, Repeat”, before last track “The Clarity of Morning” lays the miserabilia on even thicker, which contains perhaps their best ever lyric: “I walk much slower now I’ve got no direction”.

I see this EP as a band pushing themselves to their limits, almost to breaking point and not just doing London, part 2. Their honest approach to music and their critical take on their own reality is something that will always put them head and shoulders above the majority in the UK punk scene. This EP will hopefully be merely a taster of what is to come on their next LP.


Take a listen:

I Don't Wanna Die In A Fire cover art

Hello Creepy Spider are a two piece band from Scotland who mix up classic garage rock with punk (think a mix of The Stooges, Ramones and The Hives)- and they mostly pull it off on debut EP I Don’t Wanna Die in a Fire. It’s catchy and poppy, but gritty enough to be rock ‘n’ roll. It’s pretty far from what I usually listen to when it comes to garage-y stuff (see: Marked Men), but when it works, it works. And the best thing about Hello Creepy Spider’s EP is its sheer variety: placing the emotional, slow-burner “I Don’t Wanna Dance” next to the ‘60s influenced, harmony led, fast-paced “She’ll Never Love Me” is genius. Opener “Do You Want Me?” meanwhile is Turbonegro if they were from Glasgow and not Sweden (not that you could discern that this band was Scottish from listening to this ep, without being told). They certainly have humour and comic sensibilities (“too sexy for heaven/ too evil for hell” and their cover of “Staying Alive” coming to mind), but they have real emotion and heart to stop it becoming overly silly. This again brings to mind The Hives, in the most complimentary way possible. “I used to dream about nuclear war” they croon, bringing to mind a poppier Night Birds. If Hello Creepy Spider had been around 15 years ago and were from New York, they would have been huge.

Take a listen:

Groezrock is a punk, hardcore, metalcore, emo festival with some other stuff included, it’s held in April every year in the small village of Meerhout in Belgium. This was the first time I went to the festival, mainly because four of my favorite bands were playing from four different eras of my life. The Descendents which I discovered when I was 14 and Cool to be you was in my CD-player for almost all of the summer of 2004. NOFX, whom I sort of started listening to when I was 13, but which I really got into and basically obsessed with at 15 and who still holds a special place in my punk rock heart. Screeching weasel, which was the band that made being seventeen somewhat bearable! And Alkaline Trio which I had listened to a bit since I was 12, but when I became 18 I went nuts and got From Here to Infirmary” followed by Goddamnit and started getting into all the others as I waited for “Agony and irony” and couldn’t believe all the good tunes I had missed. Of all these bands Screeching Weasel was of course the band which I was looking forward to the most, with a discography that in few years had shaped my life almost as much as Blink-182 had done in my earlier teens. The festival was packed with other bands too, but these bands sure seems most important to me.

Of course there was also The Offspring that I had an ambivalent relationship with in my childhood. “Why don’t you get a job?” always made me wonder why this dude hated the beach so much and what that had to do with him having a girlfriend and “Pretty fly (for a white guy)” made a guy who basically hated the radio, sing along to a nr 1 hit. The album Conspiracy of One freaked me out and I was afraid to put it in the CD-player because it had a skull on it and of course the CD-player broke after the first song, but I thought the album was surprisingly good, even though everyone else liked it and I was more into parody boy bands and the Beatles. What I really hated at the time were energy drinks and when they had energy drinks in their video for “Want You Bad” even if I loved the song, I couldn’t like that band anymore and I knew they stood for exactly all I hated! I would later as I got into punk rock get into them more and in 2004 Ixnay on the Hombre would often replace Cool to be you in the CD-player for a while. And of course there’s New Found Glory, who I thought sounded like a boy band playing way too loud punk music when I was younger, but couldn’t help getting into them and one of my favorite albums by them no Catalyst had to be put down at the record shop when I saw Cool to be you and found out how amazing it was. I of course got Catalyst a few weeks later, see it’s all connected? So I don’t know if this counts as a review, as I am probably way too biased for that, so this will be more of a mix of storytelling, reviewing and sharing my experience.


Day 1

The first day was hectic and a late arrival at the festival due to not finding the hotel made me miss bands like Bodyjar, Saves the day and Lawrence arms (which I had already seen before, so that wasn’t that much of a big deal) So the first band which I would see were Alkaline trio, which were weirdly placed at quarter to eight and played for fifty minutes even though they are the only band except for the Offspring and New Found glory whose had Billboard top twenty albums. They started off as usual with their classic from Good mourning; “This could be love” which made the crowd sing along, and so did I. They played a lot of their classics like “Stupid kid” and “Private eye” and “Sadie” and ended with another sing along; “Radio”. There were however a bunch of numbers that seemed kind of stale, especially Dan’s considering how many great songs he sings like “Message to Kathleen”, “Love love love, kiss kiss” and “I’m dying tomorrow” or “Only love” from My shame is true, but still sang songs that were just OK.

All in all it was a great show, speaking of All, the next band up were the Descendents, before the show I went and got a Descendents hoodie to keep my stuff in. This wasn’t the best idea. When the Descendents started I was in the middle of the pit, they started the set with “Everything Sux” and I decided to go wild in da pit! Afterwards I was gonna check my phone and realized it wasn’t there and laughed to myself “imagine losing my phone at a Descendents show?” I then realized it was a fact, I had indeed lost my phone in the pit during the first song. After that I got sort of frustrated and held on to my belongings while I got my frustration out while singing along to the Descendents classics. For a few moments I forgot that I was in deep shit. The setlist was pretty cool. However, I think it’s the same setlist they played last time they were at Groezrock, except in a different order (according to Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there are so many great songs they could’ve played like “In Love This Way” or “Cheer” or “Christmas Vacation” or “Anchor Grill” or “Cool to Be You”. Hell, even “Cameage” would be cool to hear! But still this show had all the classics like “Silly girl”, “Get the Time”, “Suburban Home”, “Descendents” (which ended the show) and it was great hearing the crowd sing along to “Nothing With You” which was the first Descendents song I heard and the song that made me buy Cool to be you and one of my favorite songs of all time. It was also pretty cool how they brought the tablet of stone with the “all-o-gistics” when they played the song. And the performance was pretty sweet through and through! After the show I was rather bummed out that I had lost my phone and felt like the whole trip might be ruined.

About an hour before NOFX went on stage a couple of dudes from the Netherlands had found my phone and taken bunch of pictures of themselves on it (even one where they were mooning). I was quite happy my phone had ended in the hands of such nice and funny people. I felt such a relief and it was the greatest feeling I had felt in a long time, it’s true what they say, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and you don’t appreciate happiness until you find something you’ve lost. This made me really stoked for the NOFX show. They had promised to play Punk in Drublic in its entirety, which they had done before while dropping a few songs, so I figured this would be the deal here. They started up with “60%” their proclamation of always playing a bit over half-assed, but still having fun. Funnily enough, this song was their first false start (which there would be a lot of during their set) they then went into play some more recent classics and Milo from the Descendents came in and did the vocals on “Quart in Session”(he also did “Champs Elysées” with them) and Bill Stevenson also stopped by. And after “Seeing Double at the Triple Rock” Fat Mike announced that it was time to do Punk in Drublic and that they might miss a few songs and they were not gonna do it in order(because apparently Eric Melvin didn’t want to). There were lots of songs they hadn’t done much and hadn’t practiced, and there were lots of false starts, which to me made the band, seem more authentic instead of just being a robot band. However, Fat Mike’s vocals were perfect, and so were El Hefe’s (as usual, I guess). They spat out hit after hit and I and all the other motherfuckers sang along and the pit never stopped moving, the pit also equaled the entire area, basically. Fat Mike also said they had never played it before when they went into “Dig”, which was wrong as they had played it at Punk rock bowling 2012 (just being a fucking nerd here), but “Happy Guy” they played live for the first time and they played it great and at that moment I went absolutely nuts, for a moment I was right up with the stage and looked Fat Mike right in the eyes and probably freaked him out. They ended the set with their cover of “The Shortest Pier” by Tony Sly as a tribute to him. When the show was over I thought it was the greatest show I had ever seen and wondered “How could something possibly top this?”


Review: The Feels- Dead Skin

Posted: May 23, 2014 in Reviews

Dead Skin cover art

Pop! Yes, that is right. Christian from The Tattletales is back with a new band, and it is kind of awesome. If you have never heard the pop masterpiece (and this is not sarcastic in any way) that is “One Lawn Away” by The Tattletales, then you need to change that immediately. After briefly playing in Candy Hearts, Christian is back with The Feels. I know it is a cliché and an easy thing to write about a new band, but this will please Tattletales fans. The hooks are still big, and the pop is still with a capital P.

The EP kicks off with probably the two best songs on there: the infectious, harmony-led “Purple Heart” and the fast-paced jig “Dumb or 21”. Christian has a great ear for melodies and hooks, and it is no surprise that Dead Skin is pure pop. Most of it sounds like lost Tattletales lost recordings or something, but there are some tweaks. The Feels sounds more professional, or perhaps sophisticated. I am not sure if I am accurately describing the EP with those descriptives, but it definitely feels slightly more adult compared to The Tattle Tales youthful feel. The acoustic, earnest “When Things Were Good” being a prime example, seeming wistful, rather than nostalgic. More obviously, “Glassy Eyed” parts with Christian’s usual instrumentation, and feels more sophisiticated as a result, with the high-pitched chorus of “Maybe we’ve been lying all along”. Immediately after this song, The Feels burst into poppy, energetic closer “You’re Gonna Haunt Me All My Life” and it feels like The Tattle Tales again. I guess I prefer the latter in the end, but it is cool that the former is being attempted. To conclude: this is The Tattle Tales 2: Revenge of The Tattle Tales.

Listen here:

Wasted Daze- Meltdown

Posted: May 23, 2014 in Reviews

Meltdown (Lost, Found & Salvaged) cover art

Wasted Daze are from Coventry, UK, but they could easily have been Southern California in the mid-‘90s, so strong is the skate-punk/fat-wreck influence on Meltdown. The album kicks off with breakdowns and wailing, but this is no hardcore album. “Neon Lights” particularly stands out as being NOFX-core, with its driving guitars, Fat-wreck style drumming and even a ska-like breakdown. Well, Wasted Daze do hail from Coventry, the home of ska, with the heritage of The Specials looming large. The band has actually been going since the 2000s, but stopped for a while and have only recently decided to reform as a two piece.

Wasted Daze are what industry moguls may call a band with “potential”. The songs range from decent to really great, but there is a lack of overall drive to the album. It feels like it was written as a collection of songs, rather than an album. The production is also on the tinny side and does not do the songs justice. However, that is a back-handed compliment, as the songs on Meltdown are deserving of better production, meaning that, yes, they are pretty good. Being a pop whore, I like the tunes where the melodies really shine through, and for me, that is the catchy-as-hell “Totally”, the aforementioned “Neon Lights” (particularly where the nanananas come out) and album highlight “Stretchmarks”. The latter song sounds kind of like The Queers, or Queers-esque bands and contains some brilliant lyrics: “No kinder eggs, no Greggs, no fizzy pop/ I wish this shit would stop”. The spirit of ‘90s pop punk thus lives on in a very British way.

Available to stream/download free here:

In my column “Read hard’s classic pop punk picks”, I pick albums that I love and that’s easy to write about, but reviewing a band’s record is terrifying! What if I don’t like it and hurt their feelings? I felt a relief when I heard this! The Despised kids are a band from Katowice, Poland and they’ve been playing since 2012. They are described on their Facebook page as pop punk and pop rock. The production on the EP “Party Time” is pretty good! And the first song “Love in a Hospital” has a catchy chorus and always makes me want to go back to the moment. I feel like this could be a hit song, especially if it was released in the early 2000s. Sometimes I think the band’s lyrics are a bit too corny; I do like corny, but this is a type of corny that I don’t find that enjoyable, but they pick themselves up quite a few times. I also love the “party”/ “Bacardi” rhyme as much as the next dude, but sometimes it’s a bit too much. The band seems clearly influenced by Blink-182 and it really shows in their work. I hear that especially in the song “Down” (which is of course also the name of a blink song, and I enjoy the reference!). I think the drums on the EP sound great and though the song is a bit long the guitar riff in “Comic Book” is pretty nice. Even if I love Blink, the bands inspired by them are often awful, but this seems like a good one in the bunch! All in all this is a pretty good EP, even if it is not a masterpiece by any means. I’ll probably be listening to “Love in a Hospital” a lot in the time to come.




I guess I always pick a new album after I just picked an old one, so we’re going from 1977 to 2005. Dave has already done a Zatopeks interview and a review of their great album About Bloody Time, so I thought “why not write about their classic Ain’t Nobody Left But Us?” A great band like Zatopeks could not be written about too much and this is one of the best albums so far in the 21st century. What makes it great is how it mixes in so many styles of music without losing the Zatopeks touch or being schizophrenic. Another reason I picked it is because I have a lot of thoughts on it I’d like to share!

Ain’t Nobody Left But Us was released in March 2005 on Stardumb records. The album cover by Stefan Stardumb has the heads of all the band members around in a circle. They said in the interview that the title is an Anglicism. It’s also pretty cool that Zatopeks have footnotes and references in their lyric sheet. There is a lot to be said about the album, but now to the songs!


1. “The Summer I Fell in Love with Jimmy’s Girl”: A song that sounds like a little tale of the Vipers and Zatopeks and The fight between Zatopeks’ Will De niro and the Vipers’ Jimmy, whom Will De niro has stolen the girl of. But to me the song has a lot of more of a Meta aspect to it. The song sounds like an exciting, violent and action filled story, but to me it’s only about a group of people listening to the jukebox. It’s a manifestation of the power of music, especially sixties music, and how just listening to music can create great stories. There are lots of references to sixties songs in it, especially teenage tragedy songs about drag racing. “Leader of the Pack” by the Shang-rilas is maybe the most important one, which the intro is taken from and of course the Jimmy character. “Dead Man’s Curve” by Jan and Dean is also referenced. And I’m sure there’s more! Such a great song and awesome start of a fantastic album!

2. “Turkish Bread Chronicle”: One thing I really like about this band is their ability to tell a little story in each of the songs. “Turkish bread” starts up with “nananana”’s and goes on to tell the story of someone smoking pot at a bus stop and then meeting a girl from Greece with which he talks about stuff like the EU and girls from across the globe. In the end she leaves him and all he has left is delicious Turkish bread.

3. “City Lights”: I’ve always liked songs about city lights, maybe because I’ve always loved city lights. There’s something very calming and nice about the sun going down and seeing lights from the city light up the view. There’s something quite sentimental about this song. The backup vocals are beautiful and really add to this beautiful sentimentality!

4. “Mary Lou”: Starts up with a nice little bass line that is somewhat similar to “you’re the one that I want” from the Grease musical and the vocals in the verses are gruff and sound like they’re straight out of a country or Rockabilly song. The chorus goes straight back into pop punk and is catchy as fuck. My favorite part of the song is the bridge; it’s actually one of my favorite parts of the entire album. The song is about a man that is heartbroken about this girl named Mary Lou that has left him and their children. He later drives down to the roadhouse, which is a club in London next to the famous Covent Garden market, I went there in 2012 and there was a karaoke night and I was afraid to go in, this is the club which him and Mary Lou had their first kiss. He later purchases services from a prostitute to forget about her, but it doesn’t seem to work.

5. “Some Town in Northern France”: Starts up as a punk rock song and it gets catchy as hell until it goes into a pretty folky chorus. The band explained the song very well in the KTOTT interview they did. This is my favorite song on the album. Like “The summer I fell in love with Jimmy’s girl” this has a very simple story about going to France and have a good time and meet punk rock girls and jumping on trains. To me it emphasizes the feeling most of us has had. Going on holiday and meet all kinds of people and having the time of your life, but later realize that you’ll never meet these people again and no matter how much you’ll look all you have left is the memory. It also reminds a lot of the movie Quadrophenia for some reason. Life just seems to be that way.

6. “The Boy Done Good”: This is also an Anglicism, I think. Billy Bragg has a song called “The Boy Done Good” so I’m guessing it’s a British expression. The lyrics are pretty nice. The chorus goes: “Pour me another glass of your liquid poetry; I used to own my destiny, now my destiny owns me”

7. “The Night Spider Earned His Colours”: This is a nice little rock n roll number, that probably has the most female vocals on it and it also has the least lyrics I remember.

8. “Another Night on the Divide”: This song starts with a slow pretty acoustic intro that turns into a pop punk song. It’s about being in London or in Berlin and I think It’s about going out drinking, but I’m not sure actually. The song also appears on the It’s alive 7’’ release “Smile or move”. The chanting vocals that go “divide divide” really makes the song awesome.

9. “Jenny Kissed Me”: A folk rock musical interpretation of a poem by English essayist Leigh Hunt. It’s a short poem, but it makes a beautiful song. It takes up a tradition of making poems into song like Phil Ochs did with “the Highway man” and the Mr. T Experience did with “Somebody’s song”

10. “Quality Footwear”: Another straight up rock n roll song. It has a nice little guitar solo and the song makes the album seem very diverse, especially right after the slow folk rock song “Jenny kissed me”.

11. “Turn to Gold Blues”: Another song from the “Smile or move” 7’’ and starts up like a Beatles song and gets into something that sounds like a pop punk sea shanty with organs. I wonder if the title is a reference to the song “blue moon”, but probably not. The song continues the theme of references to London. The album mentions several capital cities in Europe, along London comes Berlin, Amsterdam, and “turns to gold blues” mention a girl who is sixteen and takes a train to London. The song ends beautifully with “Sick of all these words”

12. “Sophie Scholl”: A song for German anti-Nazi activist Sophie Scholl. The song laments the fact that he is in love with her, but he can never be with her, in a different way of course than other pop punk songs articulate this feeling. He also expresses his love for her saying that when it comes to famous females of the 20th century he’d be with her rather than movie stars like Marilyn Monroe. Scholl was together with her brother Hans put in the guillotine, she only got to be 21 years old. The second verse poetically goes: “Forever 21, how I see you still tonight/It’s true the best die young, but that doesn’t make it right”

13. “DeNiro Come On”: The way he sings “cherry coke” in this song is priceless! And “Pack of smokes “too. The song continues the Zatopeks vs Vipers chronicle from “The summer I fell in love with Jimmy’s girl” and this song also starts with “sad songs on the jukebox”. The song also serves as an anti-violence song. “Don’t you know that we don’t have to fight? Hey man, you know only we only get one life”

14. “At the Dive”: When the album starts off with a song about sixties music (“The summer I fell in love with Jimmy’s girl”) it ends with a song that could easily be from that era, a slow song from that era with a nice harmonica. Like Chuck Berry’s “Reelin’ and Rockin” the lyric bases on the clock and each verse starts with what happen at that given time. It’s a nice finish to a fantastic and severely underrated album.


On the next album Damn Fool Music the band kind of went away from Pop punk and that album was even more diverse than this one, and maybe to a point where they in fact got kind of musically schizophrenic. But that one also has some beautiful songs and the Buzzcocks-esque “15 Ta Life” (sentenced to less than Masked intruder, at least), there’s even some jazz on that record and it seemed a bit more political.

Still the legacy of Ain’t Nobody Left in the pop punk world stands! German Pop punk band the Barbecuties wrote on their Facebook page that they will continue the story about the Vipers and the Zatopeks from Jimmy’s point of view on their next album. A line that really sticks out for me is “I don’t need your eyes, I’ve got the city’s lights/I don’t need your truth, I’ve got one of my own from “City lights”. The next album will be Revenge is sweet, and so are you by the Mr. T experience.

Listen to their latest album here:

If you take a listen to 2008’s Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair immediately after hearing the new album by La Dispute, it now sounds pretty shit. When I first heard it back in the day, it was interesting, quirky, different; now, it just sounds a bit silly and teenage. But I think that is less to do with how well the album has dated and more to do with how well La Dispute have progressed since that record. 2011’s Wildlife acts a bridge between the albums, but Rooms of the House is where they really come into their own.

La Dispute have been labelled as a number of things; most of which is either plain wrong or just dumb (post-punk, post-noise, post-music?!). They were recently called “unclassifiable”. I think this is an exaggeration and, while they take inspiration from various sources, people are over-thinking it. La Dispute are a screamo band. They are just a really good and interesting one, so it may not be immediately evident. They do not just constantly squeal and screech; La Dispute mix in the intensity with slowed down introspection. Listen to “Woman (In Mirror)” for instance. It is essentially spoken-word poetry. And then putting “Scenes from Highways 1981-2009” immediately after. It is moments like these that make La Dispute worth listening to. It’s like John Cooper Clarke doing spoken word in the middle of a Black Flag album.

Basically, this is a fascinating record that people with all musical tastes should check out. That is without even touching on the emotion-heavy lyrics and the Rooms of the House theme, which works much more convincingly than Wildlife ever did in this respect. La Dispute wear their heart on their sleeves more than any band I can think of, and this shines through more than ever on the new album. It’s dripping with passion, energy and heart: “But I guess in the end, we just move furniture around”.

The opening drum-filled moments of first track “Shipping” sounds a little like Blink 182’s “Feeling This”, but then instantly it morphs into standard Johnny Foreigner. I do not mean that as an insult. Rather it is something that we should embrace, as standard Johnny Foreigner equals good times. You Can Do Better is an energetic, catchy-as-hell album and “I’ll stop shipping you if you’ll stop shipping me” is a brilliant chorus to open with and perfectly sets the tone for what is to come. Unlike some of their indie-pop contemporaries (I’m mainly looking at you, Los Campesinos!), JoFo have lost none of their youthful energy or drive since their debut album in 2005. In fact, you can feel the enthusiasm just bursting from the songs on You Can Do Better.

“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”; Johnny Foreigner adhere to these principles and just keep improving bit by bit on that classic JoFo sound. They are not going through the motions; this is probably their best effort yet. The punk-y, upbeat, giddy moments contrast perfectly with the fragile, tender, slower moments. This culminates in album highlight “To the Death”, which appears confident in nature, while simultaneously being unsure of itself. “In Capitals” is intense and brooding, while “Wifi Beach” has harmonies to die for. You can seriously never be bored with a JoFo album.

Listen here: