Hidden by Authority - Turd In A Punch Bowl (Cover Artwork)

Hidden by Authority

Turd In A Punch Bowl (2014)

White Trash Taco Records

With the band's bio citing influences such as Lagwagon, No Use For A Name and Pulley, I was interested to check out Hidden by Authority's new album, Turd In A Punch Bowl. I had to remind myself to not judge a book by its cover, the cover in this case being a picture of, well, a turd in a punchbowl. With no frame of reference, either the punchbowl is really small, or the turd is so massive that whoever took it couldn't possibly have survived.

Looking over the track listing, I was interested to check out "It's Only Racist If You're White," because it sounds kinda racist. And it is, although more so in a naive, ignorant way than a blatant KKK way. Things like Miss Black America and BET were not created to be inherently racist; they were created because black people have historically been underrepresented in the media. Songwriters shouldn't write songs about complicated issues like reparations if they only understand them on a very basic level –– it makes the whole band sound dumb. Reverse racism could be a legitimate song topic, but the anger in this song is severely misguided. Lyrics like this are not provocative, shocking or punk rock –– I hope that whoever wrote this will someday wise up.

I cautiously listened to the track "Obamanation" with the above in mind, hoping it avoided any similar faux pas, but it's just some sophomoric lyrics about revolting against the government. I really urge this lyricist to have informed opinions on topics like race, religion and politics before committing to writing any lyrics. The songs on this album that refrain from oversimplifying complex issues ("The Look That Shouldn't Come Back," "I'll Never Fake Dessert"), work much better.

It's not all bad. Lyrical content aside, there is some nice guitar playing and chord changes on many of the songs, particularly "Ascension" and "Not Old, Not Yet." However, some of this is overshadowed by the fact that the vocals are too high in the mix. The vocals themselves are definitely reminiscent of Ten Foot Pole, Lagwagon and early Bad Religion. All in all, it's a shame that what could be a delicious punch is ruined by the lyrical turds in a couple songs.