Off With Their Heads

Be Good

Written by: PP on 20/11/2020 01:28:55

Not sure what happened here but somehow I missed out reviewing the fourth (acoustic records don't count) studio album "Be Good" last year by no-frills punk rockers Off With Their Heads. It's their first record in six years since 2013's "Home", considered by many to be a cult classic, and the good news is little has changed since then. We're still in the world of rowdy, gravelly punk rock with rough-around-the-edges style production, coarse vocals, and the charismatic, if somewhat bleak vocals and lyricism of Ryan Young that's best manifested on songs like "You Will Die". It's a classic OWTH track that starts slow and quiet and then gradually crescendoes into Young's scream-laden barks about the hopelessness of living life ("but one constant remains... we die either way... WE DIE EITHER WAY, YEAH").

Yes, it's exactly the same world where we find early Flatliners records, Banner Pilot, Dillinger Four, and others like them. A little bit of Midwestern punk, a hardcore edge to the vocals, rock'n'rollish energy, and plenty of drive, all together combined providing a level of urgency that's needed to make a record like this one work. Indeed, it feels like Ryan Young brawls in your face each time he extends his strained vocals into a scream, and when he does the opposite like on the calmer "Take Me Away", it always culminates into a huge sing-along chorus that fits like a glove to sweaty basement shows where the loud passages ravage and shake the venue into a burst of energy unmatched by larger clubs.

Then there's the melodically-tinged guitar distortion that is at its best on a track like "Trash It". It's left unpolished and sharp, adding ever more gruff to Ryan's delivery that feels like the signature-style no-frills / Midwestern punk rock expression. It's true that "Be Good" doesn't innovate neither on OWTH's own sound nor the genre itself. But what it does is deliver a textbook version of how upbeat, simplistic punk rock can be made sound interesting and unique among its peers.

Young has done a fantastic job balancing the playful guitars and enough heavy crunch to make the whole package work, which feels like it gets better and better as the record goes along. Yes, "Disappear" and "Be Good" are great, but it feels like the record kicks in another gear on track five "Take Me Away", followed by "Tear Me Apart", "Trash It" and the infectiously catchy "Let It All", and doesn't stop 'til "Death" finishes it off. If anything, "Be Good" is an example of a band delivering exactly what it's asked for by its fans, a consistently good, solid example of no-frills punk rock with memorable songs throughout.

8

Download: Trash It, Let It All, You Will Die, Take Me Away, No Love, Disappear, Be Good
For the fans of: Banner Pilot, The Lawrence Arms, Direct Hit!, Dillinger Four
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.08.2019
Epitaph

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