Our Freedom Day (Independent)
There’s a completely legit case to be made that the likes of Green Day, Good Charlotte, and Blink-182 ruined it for everyone. Who in the fuck wants to form a punk band to smash the state or soundtrack an Anarchists Anonymous meeting when, by sweetening the mix a little, you can dream of massive royalty cheques, private jets, and sold-out hockey rinks?
Pop-punk is the last thing that Reds give a shit about on Our Freedom Day. This is old-school thrashamatic punk for those who’ll argue that Tim Armstrong is more principled than Billie Joe Armstrong will ever be. Only four of the 12 tracks make it past the two-and-a-half-minute mark, with “O.F.D.” wrapping up in a tightly wound one minute and six seconds.
As much as lead singer DK tends to sound like a gutter punk who gargles with uncut lye and whisky-soaked Lucky Strikes, Our Freedom Day isn’t afraid to make the odd sonic diversion. The guitars are more classic-emo sheen than Never Mind the Bollocks on “White Lightning”, while the occasionally heavenly closing track, “Umbilical”, starts out by alternating between acoustic guitar and mournful cello.
Further bonus points go to Reds for putting out the album on glorious 12-inch vinyl rather than shitty old compact disc, and for lyrics that actually seem like they weren’t written on the back of a Player’s Light pack after a couple of pulls on a glue bag. Take a listen to the impressively snotty “As It Is” and its unflinchingly honest lines “I’ve got no ambition to make it in your world/Your design is fundamentally screwed/A month on the streets would do you good.” That’s probably aimed at the suits on Howe Street, but goddamn if it doesn’t somehow seem equally applicable to the likes of Green Day, Good Charlotte, and Blink-182.