Talk–Action = O (Sudden Death)
Joey "Shithead" Keithley’s approach to punk rock seems to follow the Thomas Edison formula for genius, namely 99 per cent perspiration and one per cent inspiration. While this pays off in terms of live performances, it doesn’t always work in terms of songwriting, which, since the mid-’80s, has seemed to follow a formulaic approach: take a leftist topic du jour, distill a catch phrase from it, mix in a couple of ya-heys and a guitar solo, and repeat.
Even when it works (say 2008’s “Police Brutality”), there is a forced feel that sometimes threatens to undermine the sentiments professed.
Talk–Action = O, happily, mostly dodges this complaint, with strong songs ranging from the compassionate punk storytelling of “I Live In a Car” to the familiar but effective “Lookin’ For A World”. Even when the lyrics aren’t so inspired, which is the case in “That’s Why I’m An Atheist”, the enthusiasm of the delivery compensates.
There are two absolutely brilliant songs on the album—a cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’?” (pretty much the best punk version of that tune imaginable and perfect for Keithley’s voice), and “Captain Kirk, Spock, Scotty and Bones”, a totally delightful, catchy ode to Star Trek where the sincerity is beyond question.
Sorry, Northern Avenger: this is my favourite D.O.A. album in a long, long time.
Download This: “Captain Kirk, Spock, Scotty and Bones”