Continental - Millionaires (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Millionaires (2014)

East Grand Record Co.

Millionaires is the second LP from Continental, the band built around the father-son team of Rick and Stephen Barton. Rick Barton is best known as the founding guitarist of the Dropkick Murphys, although his roots go all the way back to Boston's late 70's punk scene. With Continental, Barton only seems interested in moving forward, not in rehashing the past. At least not in rehashing his past. If you heard All A Man Can Do, you have a pretty good idea what to expect from this record. It's three chord rock and roll in 4/4 time with shades of country and blues. Truthfully, Millionaires makes the country and blues elements even more prominent than their debut. What you won't hear is Celtic influenced street-punk.

The art and title of this record let you know that the band doesn't take itself too seriously. The cover shows Rick and Stephen at their between tours day job, painting houses. Halfway through the first song, "She's Gone", it's becomes obvious that this is ballsier than the first LP. This is their typical boy loses girl song, but it's grittier and Barton seems more comfortable in his role as frontman. He handles guitar and lead vocal duties while Stephen plays Bass and adds excellent harmonies and backing vocals. "21st Century" is the first of a handful of songs where Barton struggles to make peace with his place in the world. It's heavy subject matter, but it comes across as more uplifting than depressing.

"Punk Rock Girl", (not the Dead Milkmen song), is an upbeat rocker. "Busted" is a bluesy track that you'd expect to hear in a smoky, dimly lit dive bar. "Fun Fun Fun", (not the Beach Boys song), is a catchy tune with positive vibe. "Hope", (not the Descendents song), is another pensive track, while "1000 Miles" is another upbeat song about a girl. This is pretty much the pattern of the record. It's a good balance of seriousness and fun. "Radio", (not the Alkaline Trio song), and "Wasted", (not the Black Flag song), are a powerful one-two punch, and may be the two best songs on the album. Two more potent songs, "Millionaire" and "Free" wrap this thing up. This is earnest, heart-on-his-sleeve music that could be off-putting if it weren't so well done. Barton's 35 years in the punk rock world give him a rare credibility.

The other guys in the band deserve recognition too. Lead guitarist Dave Deprest seems to have an endless supply of tasty licks and leads. His playing really colors this record. Drummer Derek "The Kid" Louis keeps the drum parts interesting, even within the context of 4/4 time. Continental really seems to be a labor of love for the Bartons and company, and that comes through loud and clear. Ultimately, the reason this works is because the songs are so well written. If you're expecting another Do Or Die or The Gang's All Here you will probably be disappointed. If you approach this with an open mind, there is a lot to like here. Millionaires is among the best straight-up rock and roll albums of the year. Another excellent release from the folks at East Grand Record Co.