Review: Capitalist Kids- Brand Damage (Brassneck/ Eccentric Pop)

Posted: July 4, 2017 in Reviews

It has taken me an age, but after being impressed by a few songs here and there, I have finally properly checked out a full Capitalist Kids LP. I don’t know if it is the youthful aspect of the band name, or the fact that I didn’t ever get around to really listening to them, but I still consider Capitalist Kids a relatively new band; however this is actually their fifth (!) album. In an era dominated by gruff-and-rough pop-punk, it is refreshing to hear a band which clearly has an affinity for that classic ‘90s pop-punk sound. Brand Damage screams Green Day, MTX and Down by Law. It is hard to escape the Green Day or Pinhead Gunpowder comparisons, in light of the similarities in vocals between lead singer Jeff Gammill and Billie Joe. At times, the heartfelt love songs on Brand Damage also recall the idealistic pining on Green Day’s first two records.

Indeed, it is those soppy love songs that Capitalist Kids do the best, highlights of which are the infectious “(I’ve got) Nobody 2 luv”, the fast-paced, synth-y “Decent Proposal” and the mid-tempo “Beyond My Comprehension”, which recalls The Methadones at their melodic best. These are all very much straight-up pop-punk hits, whizzing by in two minutes or less.  The other side of Capitalist Kids on Brand Damage is the topical, political content, some of which sticks better than others. I appreciate the sentiment for sure, attacking the hard-right and the Trump administration in the US. I enjoy “Brute Farce” the most, I guess, as it’s a more-or-less straight-forward critique of the current political climate in the states, talking about “gun-toting Trump supporters want militarised borders” and “funding slashed for social welfare”. There is a great little segment here which highlights the contradictions in the idea of Christians being opposed to social welfare and helping the needy.

However, in the ‘Kids political material, Jeff tends to go for a more sardonic, cynical style in general, in which he spews out the rhetoric of the right in all its ridiculous-ness. “Anti-immigrant song” is the key example of this: “manifest destiny; this country’s the best in the world, but it’s not for you”. Jeff cynically picks apart the anti-immigrant sentiments of the far-right, in a bitter, sardonic manner. I like the idea of this in theory, and in the odd song, such as “Anti-immigrant song”, it does work well, but I feel, the ‘trick’ is over-used somewhat and loses its power after a number of uses. “Socialist Nightmare”, in particular, I feel is kind of a miss-hit.

Overall, though, it must be said that Brand Damage is a confident and lean effort, which packs a bunch of ideas and hooks into its short playing time, while recalling elements of the classic ‘90s Lookout! sound, without rehashing over old ground. If you miss the days of MTX, The Methadones and Pinhead Gunpowder, this is worth checking out!

Check it out here: https://brassneckrecords.bandcamp.com/album/capitalist-kids-brand-damage

DB

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