Review by By Dustin Griffin - 5/5 Dragons From October 2014 Vandala Magazine READ MORE ARTICLES
Tim Armstrong’s Hellcat label (a subsidiary of Epitaph) has slowed in its releases the last few years, releasing only a couple records a year. But there was a time when they were one of punk’s heaviest hitting labels, releasing records by the likes of Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, Dis-tillers, U.S. Bombs and Aggrolites. Nowadays their roster of bands is still impressive, but it’s the lesser known bands that are the most impressive on the team.
Take The Interrupters. An L.A. based band that represents the best of Rancid-influenced punk/ska music with a modern sound and female twist.
While The Interrupters have only been around a couple of years, their front woman Aimee Allen has had an impressive and busy decade all on her own. Contributing her impressive voice to movie soundtracks, presidential campaigns and collaborating with bands as diverse as The Black Eyed Peas and Jimmy Cliff, Allen is already an established presence on the music scene.
The band also kept busy backing Tim Armstrong on his ambitious Tim Timebomb & Friends pro-ject. So Aimee’s been busy and has, along with brothers Kevin Bivona, Justin Bivona, and Jesse Bivona, crafted one of the best throwback punk records of the last few years.
The interesting thing about The Interrupters record is that it sounds classic while managing to sound fresh and new at the same time.
“Take the Power Back”, the album’s first track, is a hard charger rally cry with impressive guitar and exciting hooks. “White Noise” is a straight ahead ska bopper with funky waltzing bass and no shortage of attitude-inflected deliverance on Aimee’s part.
“Can’t Be Trusted” and “Liberty” are fast paced, mosh ready tunes with a conscience.
“Judge Not” is a lively cover of an early Bob Marley tune (originally released when he was just 13). The Interrupters version features a funky, razor sharp rhythm section and gang vocals in all the right places.
“This Is The New Sound” musically exemplifies what makes the band so exciting, the 3rd wave ska boom of the 90’s updated and given the boot, so to speak, for the new millennium’s second decade.
“Family” is a silly ska song that sounds like it could have come off of a two tone children’s album. It’s fun and simple and features Tim Armstrong whose delivery has obviously inspired Aimee’s own delivery on this project. As a result the two voices complement each other nicely. “Easy On You” is one of my favorite songs on the album. Its smooth delivery and uplifting message put the hook in you pretty deep.
“A Friend Like Me” immediately recalls “Topical London” from Rancid’s Indestructible record. It carves its own identity out of the influence though.
“Last Call” is pretty self explanatory and features more heel bopping, hyperactive ska and to top it of “Haven’t Seen The Last of Me” is my favorite track on this record. I love Aimee’s delivery on this, all snarly spitfire exuberance and punk attitude. The ‘na na na’ chorus is impossibly catchy and the surf guitar breaks are also a lot of fun and help to create a hell of a lasting impression. A great way to cap off a great record.
The Interrupters is a perfect record. A loving tribute to ska in every one of its waves, from two tone onwards. It’s impressive when a ska record can spit out 11 songs that sound completely unique from one another. And while the Armstrong influence is obvious (he helped co-write much of the record), it’s also apparent that The Interrupters are more than just a vessel for an-other one of his creative forms of expression.
All in all, this is the best record of 2014 I’ve heard so far.