Class If You’ve Got Nothing LP

Brilliant follow-up to their fantastic debut—CLASS drops a banger of an album courtesy of Feel It Records. Channeling some truly classic-sounding tones colored in the rosiest tint of ’77-style punk, If You’ve Got Nothing careens from sounding like the BOYS to the sneering power pop of WHITE HEAT. The wizardry of songcrafting is something to behold, with layers of harmonies propelling ordinary melodies into the orbit of a higher plane. CLASS doesn’t sound that much like the EXPLODING HEARTS, but they draw from the same wellspring of influences. The ratio of punk to pop varies from song to song, while the balance is kept consistent. This creates a cohesion that eludes most bands. Subsequently, If You’ve Got Nothing is more than a mere collection of songs that work well together. It’s a proper album, striking gold where others have come up empty-handed. There’s a deftness to what CLASS has achieved here that indicates there will be quite a bit more to come. It’ll be hard to top this, but I’ll be eagerly awaiting the attempt.

Class Epoca de Los Vaqueros LP

Call it hometown pride, but Tucson has really been showing up lately on the broad landscape of excellent rock‘n’roll. This crew in particular is a fast favorite, with a strong debut EP and now this full-length that perfectly walks the tightrope of melodically pleasant and snotty punk. From track to track, CLASS manages to reference the gold standards of the late ’70s (even going so far as to brilliantly steal from “Guns of Brixton” in broad daylight on the track “Incomplete Extraction”). There’s more going on here than hero worship, though, and this band pulls out new tricks and layers of instrumentation that beef up their lush, driving sound at every turn. The songs are so strong, and the ear for detail just sends them home with a charge. I hope 2023 is another prolific year from this keen quartet, because I’m dying to hear more.

Class Class cassette

RIK AND THE PIGS join forces with Jim Colby, one of the all around best musicians I know, to bring us CLASS, with a new cassette tape released on the mighty Feel It Records. Buckle up, folks, and take a little ride with me. Everyone reading MRR knows RIK at this point, and his instantly recognizable voice crooning at you almost intimidatingly on the songs he sings will immediately win over PIGS fans. I’m not entirely sure how many of his Hog Boys RIK was able to wrangle into this project, but teaming them up with Mr. Colby was a helluva move. If Jim Colby is not a household name for you, then that’s a house I’m not sure I care to enter. Jim has been involved with seemingly countless bands spanning many different genres of music, but most notably to the avid Maximum Rocknroll reader, he was the blastermind behind the absolutely killer new wave group from Tucson, AZ, NEW DOUBT, who did a slew of cassette releases, and he was the saxophone player with BROWN SUGAR both live and on the band’s LP. CLASS might first come off as a little confusing, but I urge you to listen to this cassette a few times before you make your mind up about it. A departure from the incredibly nasty lo-fi recordings that helped make RIK AND THE PIGS so special (don’t even get me started on how much I love that last LP), this cassette has impeccably clean production value, each instrument coming through as clear as day. CLASS has different vocalists featured on multiple songs on this tape and feels like there are more than one songwriters taking the reins from song to song. It comes off like a glam rock band or a modern-day version of KISS without the glitter or the gimmick. Well, I haven’t seen them perform live, so maybe there is glitter and makeup and fancy clothes….hmm. I would honestly be quite open to seeing these beautiful ghouls try something like that. Can you tell I’m a fan over here? Pardon me while I flip the tape for yet another listen.