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Good Riddance - My Republic

  by Alex Halls

published: 19 / 6 / 2006

Good Riddance - My Republic
Label: Select Label
Format: CD


Fantastic and as usual uncompromising new album from California-based socially-conscious hardcore punks Good Riddance

California’s Good Riddance broke onto the punk scene in 1995 with their debut 'For God and Country' on Fat Wreck Chords. Hailing from Santa Cruz, the quartet demonstrate their dedication to the very same label, with a new fourteen track album, supported by uncompromising vocals that lack none of the band’s political or social views. Russ Rankin (vocals); Luke Pabich (guitar); Sean Sellers (drums); and Chuck Platt (bass) are fresh from the European leg of the Deconstruction Tour and will be performing four shows in the States to support the album release. Good Riddance is about combining punk and hardcore with elegant ease, if one can coin such a phrase within the genre. As their seventh album, 'My Republic' is a touch more melodic than past Good Riddance releases but the lyrical content is as strong and to the point as ever it has been. Long-term fans will notice some similarities with 'For God and Country' as well as 1998's 'Ballads from the Revolution', but don’t go thinking that the album sounds exactly the same: a lot more experience has been channelled into this release. There is a certain menace in 'Darkest Days' and the lyrics within this song support an atmosphere of deliberately created intimidation, designed to reflect how hope is lost and needs to be found: it is probing at society’s failings as well as one’s own tendency to lack faith in one’s self. By describing America’s turn in the wrong direction as a "chill in the air tonight" before lambasting President Bush for "raping the charm of the Lone Star State" of Texas, 'My Republic' hits hard on the political front, with its finger spot-on the pulse. Yet away from the political fight, 'My Republic' covers a range of separate themes: love ('Boise'); addiction ('This Beast Is Dangerous') and one’s inability to change the world for the better ('Save the Children'). This intriguing blend is what makes Good Riddance so much more relevant as a punk band than many others. Granted this may be personal taste but a message conveyed is as important if one is to agree with it as if they are to disagree: it is from this that natural discourse can take place. In supporting this discourse, Good Riddance outshine other bands on the musical front too. The guitaring is tight, displayed throughout the record but highlighted in the introduction to 'Tell Me Why', which, even if reasonably short, has to rank as one of the best starts to a Good Riddance track to date. Yet, the album is not only about the audio: it is supported by a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) video as well as three live songs from a recent Santa Cruz show. Whilst missing some of that extra aggression that made releases such as 1999's 'Operation Phoenix' quite sublime, 'My Republic' has its own strengths, playing more on the band’s original punk influences and inviting the listener to think more about their social responsibilities. The political vocalizations are ever present and as robust as any Good Riddance record in the past: few artists can get close to matching this. Almost every song on 'My Republic' is prepared to blow the listener away and does so efficaciously. For a band in their prime, this is a great release, for a band rumoured to be at an end, its transcendency is unparalleled: there is no band quite like Good Riddance.

Track Listing:-
1 Out of Mind
2 Texas
3 Shame
4 Tell Me Why
5 Torches and Tragedies
6 Darkest Days
7 Up to You
8 Regret
9 Boise
10 Rise and Fall
11 Broken
12 Save the Children
13 This Beast Is Dangerous
14 Uniform

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