I read two reviews of this Arizona trio in MRR and was intrigued, as both were fairly positive about the brand of pop-punk being heard from their 7” single and also this eight-track 10”. Therefore, I needed to find out more for myself.
However, the main reason my interest was piqued was that this particular record was likened to being a total Green Day worship release—more so the earlier, less bombastic and mainstream version of that band, and this is the sound that I still have a huge affection for.
The record opens with “SM03”, and there is no huge, apparent Green Day thing going on—just good, solid-pop punk with vocals that are less gruff than the current norm amongst many bands, yet not overly clean and preppy. Next up is “Warpigs (Children at Play)” and boy oh boy, this sounds like Billie Joe Armstrong during Green Day’s earlier releases, and the music is also hugely reminiscent of that era.
To be fair to Good Men Die Like Dogs, it doesn't come across as a deliberate ploy to gain a huge fanbase on the back of one of the most popular bands in the world. It’s more a case of this is what they do and it just so happens to have the occasional Green Day sound. Overall, I’d say that this sounds more like a bastard mix of Green Day and Pinhead Gunpowder; imagine the poppiness of 39 Smooth/Kerplunk!-era Green Day with the more edgy, rough approach of Pinhead Gunpowder. Despite any similarities to other bands, one just cannot ignore songs like “Dreams Change”, “4321” and “Westbound 10”, all of which have an infectiousness to them that leaves me reaching for my air guitar to thrash along with Good Men Die Like Dogs.
That being said, GMDLD do produce some damn good, distinctive pop-punk that should actually gain them a wider audience, especially if you have a hankering for that East Bay/Lookout! sound of yore including the aforementioned bands, as well the likes of Monsula and the Wynona Riders. This is one of the better recent bands I've heard in the pop-punk genre, and they really deserve to be heard and not hindered by any potential comparison to the millionaires of punk rock.
I appreciate I've mentioned Green Day numerous times in this review, but it was unavoidable in trying to get over what I hear when listening to Good Men Die Like Dogs. Now is the time for all to take notice of Good Men Die Like Dogs for what they can do rather than who they might be compared to. This is a cracking release.