Tim Timebomb and Friends - Tim Timebomb and Friends (Cover Artwork)

Tim Timebomb and Friends

Tim Timebomb and Friends (2014)

Tim Armstrong

What can be said about Tim Armstrong that hasn't already– Whether you want to admit it or not, the man's a living legend and is known for creating numerous punk anthems that have fueled the soundtrack to many people's youth. With the release of "Tim Timebomb and Friends", Armstrong takes some risks which come off as bold. Some of songs pay off while others leave you scratching your head. It's nice to see though, that not all songs follow the same punk format that built his career. The track–list contains 36 songs which seem a bit overwhelming, and at times it is, but I think overall it works. These songs were compiled from his song a day campaign.

What's unique is this album seems to be divided stylistically into three sections, the first being that aggressive punk rock tone, which Armstrong's known for. The album opens with a powerful punk tune "Honor is all we know", that's reminisce of more recent Rancid. Driving guitars and drums hold the song to a powerful energetic feeling. When you get to "No Reverence", it's the first track where full female back–ups emerge. It's a nice touch and reminds me a little of the Rock And Roll Theatre project. When back–up vocals are used, especially in the choruses; they really help give off a big sound.

"She's Drunk All the Time" is what I would consider the starting point for the second section. It's has an old time swing feel complete with standup bass, harmonica and snare. I feel like this section is where the majority of the risks are taken. Unlike the first section where everything has a somewhat consistent punk feel, the second section comes off as a hodgepodge of various styles such as roots, rockabilly and zydeco. Some of the songs don't feel like they're Armstrong, but maybe it's because his back catalog is so popular that it's hard to imagine him doing other things. "Chills and Fever" feels like a show tune where a do–whop feeling lingers. Can't say that I'm into it, but it's recorded and produced well. The production could also be attributed to why some of these risks come off as show tune–y. The genres attempted in the middle section sound too clean and big for the rawness in which those styles derive from. "Jim Dandy" is a song that I think works out of the rockabilly madness, but the song "Yes Sir" makes me feel like I'm watching reruns of Antiques Roadshow. The latter contains a zydeco mood with trombone and tuba taking the spot of bass guitar. Ska and reggae make up the third section which is reminiscent of Armstrong's 2007 release "A Poet's Life". A majority of these songs are covers but they work. What's interesting is "Ruby Soho" is covered and redone as 2–tone ska. This section of the release is where Armstrong really shines.

"Tim Timebomb and Friends" would've gotten old though if it was just the standard bass, drums and guitar set up on every track. The mix of instruments, as well as musicians (this release features tons of guests) used in each song, helps contribute to the diversity. Because the album feels like three different sections, the transition amongst them feels abrupt. I don't think there's any way that this could have been avoided without turning this into three separate releases. Overall I think it's solid. With all these different styles covered, it makes me wonder what's next. Will Armstrong pick a style and stick with it, or continue to explore–