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Ensign: Love The Music, Hate The KidsLove The Music, Hate The Kids (2003)
Reviewer Rating: 4
Contributed by: FortyMinutesWestFortyMinutesWest
(others by this writer | submit your own)
Cover albums are either hit or miss, either a band takes the songs and adds their own flavor, or they play it note by note and make the whole thing seem pointless. While I would much rather have a new album full of original Ensign songs in my hands right now, “Love The Music, Hate The Kids” is an interesting look at the band covering some of their favorites.
Ensign covers all the bases here, with a little something for everyone, covering songs from The Descendents, Sick of it All, Hüsker Dü, Negative Approach, Insted, Discharge, and The Dwarves, amongst others. While listening to these songs you can’t help but feel the love Ensign has for them. It almost reminds me of the first time I learned to play one of my favorite songs, I wanted to play it forever, and show everyone. Ensign shows that same kind of passion on this disc. The first song I had to listen to was track 3, the band’s take on “Anesthesia” by Bad Religion. Ensign brought in Alf from Ex Number 5 to sing the choruses of this song, and his melodic singing coupled with Tim Shaw’s trademark shout create an interesting dynamic. Ensign then proceeds to churn out impressive renditions of two Descendents tracks, “I’m Not A Loser” and “Hurtin’ Crue.” The bands plays these songs with loads of intensity, it’s almost as if they were their own songs. The guys in Ensign apparently consider The Descendents to be the best band ever, and they should rest easily knowing they nailed these songs perfectly. Ensign sets their sights across the sea, to be more specific, the U.K., with Discharge’s “Protest and Survive.” I wasn’t totally sure if they’d be able to hit the solo, but it’s nearly dead on, another home run. The song that interested me the most was Hüsker Dü’s “In A Free Land.” Apparently, this song was learned specifically for this album, but it really doesn’t show. Frank can’t exactly channel Bob Mould, but who can? This leads to my personal favorite song on the disc, “We’ll Make The Difference” originally by Insted. Insted’s shout along classic is resurrected in a slightly beefier version by Tim and crew, but the song remains as powerful as it ever was.
This is what a cover album should be, other bands take note. Ensign not only does these songs justice, they breathe new life into them. While song bands seek to destroy the songs they cover, Ensign plays them with genuine respect and admiration. Now that they have this out of the way, let’s hope they can finally put out a new album.
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