German five-piece punksters GOODBYE JERSEY could quite conceivably stand accused of living in a time warp. This, their debut album is perhaps more 2001 than 2011. But you know what? Who gives a ‘four x?!’ It’s quality!
It’s also great fun, in spite of the socio-political lyrics. Opening track, ‘Angels & Western Waves,’ for example refers to the current coalition government of their country. (The vocals on this one remind me of Glasgow based band Cuddly Shark, which may not mean much to many, but I thought I’d drop it in anyway.)
‘Wasteland’ apparently broaches the phenomena of gentrification in their home town of Hamburg; ‘Kill Your TV,’ and ‘Radio Sux,’ are both damning verdicts on the mass media influence that consumes the youth of today. Indeed, the album title itself is a not so subtle pop at society’s obsession with popular culture.
OK they’re not quite so radical in their viewpoints as the likes of Leftover Crack, but there are little guitar snippets in the more heavily ska-based tracks that remind me of the New York mentalists. In fact ’14 Years’ comes pretty damn close to the sound, taking on more of a ska-core feel with the vocals more growled and threatening.
I’m sure Leftover Crack have / had connections with Fat Wreck Records, and it does sound pretty much like this is the label that has most influenced the music of GOODBYE JERSEY. Theirs is an amalgam of everything that is good about that label and at various points throughout the fifteen-song, forty-two minute length of ‘Entertain Me!’ you can hear shades of Less Than Jake, and the ‘Duck and Cover’ jazzy punk of The Mad Caddies …. check out ‘Radio Sux.’
However, it’s the ska influence that best shapes this upbeat and ‘feel-good’ album. And it’s interesting to read that GOODBYE JERSEY have previously toured with Big D And The Kids Table, for the vocals (especially the more spoken / shouted backing) reflect the Alston, Massachusetts crew’s early ‘Shot By Lammi’ / ‘L.A.X.’ style.
Each and every one of the fifteen tracks is a fun and exciting listen and it would be hard to pick out any specific highlights simply because they’re all pretty damn excellent! However, mention must be made of ‘Zombie Shuffle,’ in part because it is sung in German (and works!) and also because it slows the pace to more of a reggae backbeat and has a terrific slow skanking bass line!
Yeah – I could take more of this!
(Released through Long Beach Records Europe on 20th June 2011)
(9 / 10)