Reviews

Positive Force

7 Seconds Blasts From the Past EP

Recorded in ’83, these four tunes are all previously unreleased and all rip. Great covers of “If the Kids Are United” and “These Boots are Made for Walking.” Available only as a 7 SECONDS Fan Club promo, so send $5 to Positive Force.

7 Seconds New Wind LP

Two different recording sessions are mixed together here — one done in DC in ’85 by Ian MacKaye, and one done by BYO in LA in ’86. The DC sessions rock hard while maintaining that 7 SECONDS melodic appeal, while the LA tunes are decidedly more commercial sounding, with a U2 influence. Fortunately, 7 SECONDS makes even these tunes sound great live.

7 Seconds Praise 12″

This record marks a low point in the career of this influential Reno band. The style of this record has been described as reminiscent of U2, but I found the tunes here unpassionate and the sung vocals unsuited for the mid-tempo material. Come on guys wake up!!!

7 Seconds Live! One Plus One LP

Aside from a song or two, this live LP represents their latter sound, a rock-oriented approach. The songs are less anthemic and less gripping, more prone to length and dilution. It’s hard for me to relate to this approach, especially as 7 SECONDS was my fave for many years. And given my fondness for Kevin, it’s doubly hard to say I don’t really like this period of their work, never mind the thin sound on this LP.

Justice League Reach Out 12″

With the exception of one song, this record is comprised of five slow/medium tempo melodies and, when mixed with the sappy vocals, it becomes obvious that power was compromised for a very clean mainstream sound. It seems the riffs and emotions were made secondary to production. I can’t help but compare this band to a tame, underground version of the SMITHS. I would “reach out,” but there is simply nothing for my ears to hold on to.

Outcry Far Cry 12″

A younger, thrashed-out version of MARGINAL MAN, with melodic rawness mixed with personal and social outbursts in the lyrics. Each of the seven songs are filled with simple, fast tempo power riffs and harmonizing vocals with choruses, resulting in a very impressive debut release for this Minneapolis band. Good stuff!

Token Entry From Beneath the Streets LP

This NY-based band for the most part stays clear of the “straight edge mosh style” and goes for more of a melodic HC sound that at times creates some great rockin’ songs. The lyrics, however, are a mix of silliness, dark, and social-political. The most annoying point here is their narrow minded patriotic support for Vietnam vets.

V/A Nuke Your Dink EP

This spirited sampler of Nevada bands features both the scene veterans (7 SECONDS, Urban Assault) and the relative newcomers (the REMAINS, SUBTERFUGE, the EXPELLED, JACK SHIT, NO DEAL, and the YOBS, who have an incredible singer). There’s some fine punk by SUBTERFUGE and the REMAINS, and some churning thrash from JACK SHIT, but most of the rest of the groups suffer from that perennial Skeeno problem—lousy production.

V/A Another Shot for Bracken LP

This decent North American comp has something for every musical taste: powerful hardcore, funnypunk, melodic rock, reggae, a 70’s cover and a couple of mid-tempo standard tunes. F.O.D., A.O.D., DISSONANCE, and SCRAM stand out from the pack, but there could have been better tracks from the name bands overall.

White Flag Wild Kingdom LP

A lot more pop than in the past (at times even power pop), this release puts the accent on harmony and melody. Sounds like the BEATLES meet early punk with some thrashy energy. Lots of short, goofing around tracks, as well as their usual good production sound. Guess this signals the end of this label as an indie.

Youth of Today Can’t Close My Eyes EP

Catchy choruses and rhythmic mosh beats combined with slurred gravel vocals make up the basic musical structures of this seven-song EP. The would-be power is kept down to a minimum due to the semi-poor production, and the lyrics stress a generic “positive” militant straight edge attitude, and if I never would’ve met them in person I’d have believed that the lyrics lacked the sincere depth which could lead them to be easily misunderstood. This band’s intentions are good, they just suffer from occasional foot-in-mouth disease—eh Ray?