June sees the release of the sixth album from US melodic punks Authority Zero and a riot for the spirit which shows the genre’s young bucks just how it is done. After twenty plus years, you could be forgiven for expecting the band’s obvious maturity in sound and craft to come with an aged controlled fire but Broadcasting To The Nations quickly sets the records straight. There is an excitement and energy to its body and heart which you would more expect from a band just starting out as well as a freshness and urgency bred in a newcomer’s hunger to make their first mark. Add that to the long established invention and infectious prowess of the Mesa in Arizona hailing outfit and you quite simply have one of the most rousing and seriously enjoyable punk offerings of the past few years.
Once again Broadcasting To The Nations is a proposition brought alive with the distinctive Authority Zero mixing of SoCal punk with reggae and ska and as ever delivered with a host of swinging hooks and anthemic dexterity which has lured persistent acclaim the way of their music and releases. Within the new album though, it all seems to have found a new appetite and imagination; like the quartet has reaped the best elements from previous successes and honed them into their keenest most rapaciously rebellious but fun adventure yet.
It launches with First One in the Pit, a baying eager crowd luring out the band and a stomp of brooding bass and swinging rhythms aligned with senses clashing riffs and rich vocal enticement. Within seconds ears are hooked on the vigorous anthem of sound and spirit, its vocal declaration matched in tone by the contagion of aggressive punk ‘n’ roll sound.
The galvanic start is quickly reinforced by the bold holler of Reconciliation where again the beats of drummer Chris Dalley splinter bone as they land and the heavy grumble of Mike Spero’s bass grips an already awoken appetite. Their predacious edge though is skilfully tempered by the melodic roar of frontman Jason DeVore and the spicy hooks and melodies thrown into the commandingly catchy affair by guitarist Dan Aid. As exceptional as it and its predecessor are though, both are still eclipsed by the stirring charge of the Bad Religion scented Destiny and Demise. Within moments it has its spiky attitude and bold tenacity into hooked into limbs and emotion, stoking the instincts with its raucous enterprise and bullish energy. Submission and involvement is quick and lusty, the track simply punk at its best.
The album’s title track is just as mercilessly compelling, its ska infested shuffle an infestation of body and heart leading the listener into a breath stealing bounce of air punching unity. Spero’s bass uncages a groove which devours the passions, Aid offering hooks which are more puppeteer than suggestion, whilst Dalley’s beats just bite; all together the band spawning an infectiousness which borders on rabid as DeVore anthemically roars.
Summer Sickness allows things to calm down a touch though its reggae nurtured grooves and hip teasing bait is swiftly in control and directing reactions alongside the magnetic presence of DeVore. Highlights have flowed since the first second of Broadcasting to the Nations, this another stunning pinnacle springing in Latin brass flames and a punchy catchiness to get lustful over.
The band dives back into their more direct punk dexterity with Bayside next, the song giving an additional contagious coating its heavy bustle. It is the kind of goodness Green Day delivered back in their prime but with the devilment and heart of Authority Zero which has never wavered and now seems hungrier than ever as supported by the Clash meets Random hand like Revolution Riot, an inescapable stonking romping incitement, and Sevens with its melodic blaze of reflection and defiance.
There is a whiff of Strummer and co to next up La Diabla too, its festival of melodic sound and creative diversity a smouldering fire with more inventive flickers and magnetic exploits than most ferocious pyres of sound and energy. The track is sheer captivation with, as no doubt now you might expect, the listener’s physical participation at its finger tips.
The brassy stroll of Creepers has claws just as vigorously in feet and imagination straight after; its lyrical and musically feisty rock ‘n’ roll something akin to Russian punks Biting Elbows and an instinctive arousal of attitude and anthemic coupling while When We Rule the World simply hits the spot with its stylishly infectious canter. Certainly, like its successor, it is missing that little imaginative extra which set ears and album ablaze earlier but leaves pleasure rich and a greed for more slavering.
One Way Track Kid mixes all its shades of rock in its cry; hard, melodic, and punk rock as boisterous as the other in its dynamic bellow before No Guts No Glory brings things to a fine close with a punk assault as old school, raw, and incendiary as it is fresh, melodic, and galvanic. With a sniff of Flogging Molly to its glory, the song is a heady conclusion to an anthemically intoxicating release.
There is no escaping that as a band Authority Zero are growing physically old but equally it is more than obvious their music whilst impressively mature is lost in the rapture of youth; all the evidence in one of the essential punk roars of recent times.
Broadcasting To The Nations is released June 2nd via Bird Attack Records across most online stores and @ https://birdattackrecords.bandcamp.com/album/broadcasting-to-the-nations
Pete RingMaster 01/06/2017
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