The Hex Bombs - Everything Earned (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Hex Bombs

Everything Earned (2014)

East Grand Record Co.

The Hex Bombs seem to take a step forward with each new release. The Kalamazoo, MI—based band really hits their stride on their third LP Everything Earned. The sound is most easily compared to early Dropkick Murphys. It is essentially street punk with occasional Celtic flourishes. The Irish influence only serves to add flavor to the songs, it never dominates them.

The album opens with two really strong songs. First is the title track, which starts with the sound of an alarm going off. It's a blue collar anthem that sets the stage for the rest of the record. Next up is "None Shall Be Forgotten." It's an updated version of a song from their first album We Are Rock 'N' Roll. It is sonically superior to the original and features original Dropkick Murphys/Street Dogs singer Mike McColgan on vocals. An excellent cover of Blitz's "New Age" is another highlight. It's a great song by a nearly forgotten band.

"The Closing" slows things down with a good old fashioned drinking song. "The Worker's Life" again hammers home the album's theme. "Defiance" might be the best song on the record. It's pretty much guaranteed to get stuck in your head after a listen or two. The album closes with an earnest acoustic track called "All Fall Down."

Occasionally the lyrics feel a little cliché, as the working class themes are pretty well worn ground. This is a minor complaint for what is a very solid album. The Hex Bombs' sound is gritty enough to satisfy discerning punks, but is also polished enough to appeal to other listeners. This is a band capable of attracting a wider audience. Everything Earned is another step in the right direction.

East Grand Record Co., based in Okemos, MI, has quietly been putting out a large quantity of high quality records. The label is built around, but not limited to, the Celt—punk sound. They have amassed an impressive roster of Michigan bands, as well as snagging a couple more notable acts. They will soon be releasing the vinyl for Canadian Irish punk mainstays The Mahones, and are also the home of original Dropkick Murphys guitarist Rick Barton's new band, Continental.