When was the last time a punk rock album blew you away?
For me it was in 1999 when this album came out: 14 amazing songs strung together in a half-hour's listen. Most hardcore fans of SOC (who also tend to be from New Mexico), cite 1996's Masonic Youth as the band's best album, but I feel that the boys really hit their peak on Tired Of You. Almost seamless tracking makes this disc a continuous listen, from the opening feedback and keyboard buzz of "A Lie And A Cheat" through to the smooth and sweet 60's-style ballad of "Seventeen" and even... *gasp*... an MC5 cover, which they pull off amazingly, I find it hard to hit the 'stop' button on my CD player. This being their first album on Hopeless Records' Sub City label (and dare I say, the best album on Hopeless other than the D4 albums), Chaka has cleaned up their sound a bit from earlier albums, but without losing that punk tone. The guitar is scathing and in your face, the bass is turned WAYYYY down (remember basement shows when you could never hear the bass because the dumbass has a 10-watt amp?), the drums sound like a cheap set of pawn shop specials, and the vocals are so far off in the background, you have difficulty following the lyrics in the liner notes. But somehow all of this mess gets processed like a sweet block of Velveeta into a nice presentable package. Guitarist and vocalist Dave Hernandez crafts an unbelieveable string of unintelligible words into some of the most beautiful harmonies I've ever heard, only to bite back with a screeching hiss on the next line. The presence of keyboards, which I usually don't think is even appropriate for punk rock, seems to be the cherry on the top, winding a falsetto over the crunch of the rest of the band.
Unfortunately for the national punk community as a whole, Scared Of Chaka called it quits in 2001 after releasing their swan song Crossing With Switchblades (another recommended album), with Dave and studio keyboardist Marty Crandall now rocking in the Shins. But the band left a nice legacy of albums, along with a plethora of comp appearances and 7"s, putting them (for me at least) alongside bands like Kid Dynamite that made a huge impression upon the punk world and then decided to retire, leaving only a few decent 'real' punk rock bands remaining. It is bands like this that make me actually believe that the current trend of music (see: Hawthorne Heights, Fall Out Boy, etc.) is exactly that: A trend, and that true punk rock doesn't require a dress code, star tattoos, and dyed black hair.
- A Lie And A Cheat
- All My Friends Are Ghosts
- Also find the song "Frozen Out" wherever you can get it.
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