With a band like Good Clean Fun, it’s hard to pack the enthusiasm of a live show into an album. But with their first effort in years, Between Christian Rock and a Hard Place manages to almost represent just that.
Between Christian Rock and a Hard Place opens with “A Little Bit Emo, A Little Bit Hardcore,” a track detailing the relationship between a “hardcore” girl and “emo” boy, joking that, “She showed him times gone by, he showed her how to cry.” However, the real beauty in the track is the line, “He finally heard old Fugazi, he said, ‘This sounds like Bear Vs. Shark.’” Following “A Little Bit Emo...” is “Positive Hardcore,” a slightly laughable, yet catchy song about animal rights, equality, being drug free, and (no joke) being a positive hardcore band.
The album’s title track tackles Christian rock’s popularity, while “Drop the Knife” addresses questioning what you hear. Guitarist Kelly joins Issa in the track “Punk Rock Love” where they sing about a couple with the same tattoo who protest side-by-side. The album doesn’t pack on as many mocking, joke-oriented songs as the previous ones have, but there’s still enough moments to make you smile and stop being completely serious about xBrosx, xMoshx, and xCrewsx. On the subject of X’s, “Ex-Straightedge-Ex,” a song Issa says he wrote because he felt bad for the non-straight edge kids because they can’t join in any of the good sing-alongs, resides as the album’s single most fun song.
While most of the album’s standout tracks remain at the beginning of the album, the second portion of Between Christian Rock and a Hard Place is home to songs about vampires, reality television and a blunt song about corporate rock. The album wraps up with the slow-paced, acoustic parody “The Myspace Song,” a track that states, “I know that websites don’t kill but sometimes they will break hearts.”
Good Clean Fun stay true to their old school, straight-forward, heavily Gorilla Biscuits-influenced hardcore sound with Between Christian Rock and a Hard Place, while still remaining consistent to the sound they’ve made their own through nearly a decade of releases. While Good Clean Fun’s sound isn’t the most original thing in hardcore today and the main portion of the tracks exhibit extremely similar composition, they do it with passion and they’re doing it for the right reason: fun. And sometimes, that’s enough to warrant listening.