Well, here’s a first…. a band from Luxembourg. Previously, the only music I was aware of coming from that particular country was by Vicky Leandros – although if I remember rightly, she was in fact originally from Greece. (Ask your parents!)
Anyway, preserving the excellent age-old punk tradition of split releases, Luxembourg’s excellent VERSUS YOU team up with So-Cal punk stalwarts WHITE FLAG on this old-school LP.
VERSUS YOU deliver the first seven tracks. There’s nothing particularly new or inventive about these songs, but every single one is a full-on raucous but melodic punk anthem. No wishy-washy pop-punk efforts here, just deeply pounded drums, searing guitars, gravely vocals and gang-shouted backing harmonies. Each song has the inherent catchy chorus that makes this just about the best type of music you can get – in my humble little opinion, of course.
This is the band’s fourth album and having played across Europe with the likes of NOFX, Alkaline Trio, Propagandhi, Rise Against and Strike Anywhere, their pedigree is both obvious and confirmed within these seven tracks.
WHITE FLAG are onto their twenty-fourth record with their contribution here! Well, they have been around a while – since 1982 in fact when they opened for the infamous Black Flag! Over the piece, twenty musicians have contributed to the band, including members of Bad Religion, Hole, The Muffs and Lagwagon, so again this is a band to be reckoned with.
The brand of punk on their seven tracks is perhaps a little more varied in style to those of VERSUS YOU – although I hasten to add that I am not saying their contribution is any better … just different.
For example, opening track ‘Forever Changes’ has more of a Goth-punk feel. A little bit like I remember The Misfits, although I have to say I was never hugely into them. ‘What Can I Do In A Day?’ is more like the ‘three chord punk’ bands from the States, like The Lillingtons and The Apers etc., while ‘Architects’ races and rages through without even pausing for breath.
The final track on the album is a joint effort from both bands. And a pretty superb one it is too. It’s a cover that had me racking my brain for a while eventually recalling it was originally a hit for the German band The Rattles back in 1970. Inspired! (And yes, I do remember it!)
This is a great album for anyone into good, solid, no-frills punk music. In fact, it’s for anyone who enjoys a good bounce around to boisterous anthemic songs that hark back to the days when bands didn’t feel obliged to over-elaborate and just got on with the job in hand.
(Released through Long Beach Europe on 4th July 2011)