New York outfit No Lives and their new EP is proof that the spirit of classic punk is alive and well even more than forty years since its inception. Reminiscent of artists like Misfits and The Ramones, Violent Side consists of six tracks that offer a throwback to that classic punk sound with an effective mix of modern and old-school production elements.
The production on this EP is what best appeals to punk rock fans of all generations. Boasting a tight and modern drum sound, as well as a dirty, raunchy guitar tone, the entire mix strikes that fine balance between sounding too dated and too polished. Add in a simplistic bassline and some gritty vocals which can carry a solid melody, and you’ve got all the pieces you need to make a solid punk band.
All that’s left to complete the puzzle is to be able to write a decent tune, and No Lives definitely succeed on that front. “Goodbye Rosie” sounds like something that could be right out of The Ramones’ catalogue if it was way less dynamic and, although frontman John Browne’s lyrics are relatively tame on most of these songs, “Daddy” is just crass enough to stand out among the rest of the EP’s selection. Violent Side closes off with “Simple Song” an Avail cover that I never would have guessed wasn’t their own work. It fit really well with the rest of the simplistically aggressive roster of songs on Violent Side and ends things on a good note.
Enjoyability aside, Violent Side is a pretty one-dimensional album and doesn’t try to explore anything that they know their talent and instruments can create, but it’s punk rock at its core. Lighthearted, sometimes eyebrow-raising, lyrical content and familiar instrumentation make it a release that a wide variety of people can enjoy on its familiarity alone. It certainly doesn’t break any new ground, but if we’re being honest, three-chord punk hasn’t broken any new ground in decades. So, sit back and enjoy the record, dammit.
Written by Mathieu Perrier
*edited by Danielle Kenedy