Anticipated by the first single "Reckless (I Don't Wanna)," here comes the brand new full-length by Swedish punk rock band No Fun at All, a band that, together with the likes of Satanic Surfers, Millencolin and Randy, shaped European punk in the `90s. After their 2001 breakup, not too long after the release of their slowest album, State of Flow, which was not very well-taken by fans, No Fun at All is back with a new, super fast and, most importantly, independent record.
The band left Burning Heart Records and is releasing this new album on their own record label, Beat 'Em Down Records, and the sound drastically goes back to the band's early releases: Vision, No Straight Angels and Out of Bounds are the kind of songs that come to mind, all shaken together, on this new record. Low Rider is made of 14 kick-ass songs, where there is no space for slow-oriented rock or such stuff. It's especially noticeable in the production, which is more raw and direct compared to State of Flow and makes the new songs sound better than ever.
The album is opened by the track "Mine My Mind," which has a kind of slow intro, but then it turns into a super fast-paced punk rock song, as the rest of the record is. Don't bother me if I use the words "classic No Fun at All" too many times from now on, because it's really that way.
"Never Ending Stream" is a classic No Fun at All tune, with some aggressive and fast guitar riffs here and there, and a slower verse; "Reckless (I Don't Wanna) is a 2:20 minute kick in the face, and the guitar riff infuenced by Black Sabbath's "Airdance" is the best thing to move you in this cold winter.
The band still brings me back to my early `90s, when I listened a lot to skatepunk bands, and I must say the fact that this band remained in silence for seven long years is a plus, because they are now able to come back as a new band that has nothing to do with the new trends.
Low Rider keeps on getting faster with good songs like "Anything Could Happen Here" -- it's like "Believers," but faster, with the super catchy "whoa"s in the choruses.
There is also space for little poppy melodies as on "Forevermore," which is a kind of mid-tempo song (very Bad Religion-ian style), and also "Sorry to Say," but the space to breathe is immediately filled with the old-school Vision sound on "It's Such a Good Thing" and "Man with Powers."
"Such a Shame" and its straight and intense drummings make me fall in love with this band even more, and "Such a Shame"'s non-stop harmonies deliver what is the true No Fun at All manifesto: aggressive sound and clever lyrics.
"Episode 666" is a cover song by metal band In Flames and it's nice to see a death metal song find its way into this record, even though I must say it's the weakest song of the whole CD. The record ends up with super fast attacks in the listener's face on "Wind-Up," "Willingly Unknowing" and "There Must Be a Better Way."
For the older people who did not grow up with modern trends, the internets and the one hit wonders, but with skate melodic punk, XXL shorts and NOFX shirts, I think this record is not just a must to be listened to, but most importantly, it brings back those memories and makes you understand how lucky we've been to start listening to music with this kind of bands that were more worried about letting the anger out with good anthems than caring about the look and the fashion.