No Problem - Already Dead (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

No Problem

Already Dead (2014)

Deranged Records/Taken By Surp

In capturing the spirit of '80s hardcore, authenticity is key. Too many bands that attempt the sound come off as merely aping a bygone style, choosing naked emulation over anything new or interesting, opting to instead parrot the obvious influences that came before them. Then, there are bands like No Problem. On their latest album, Already Dead, Edmonton’s ambassadors of '80s-style hardcore punk further prove that they are one of the preeminent bands playing this brand of rock n’ roll today, and for them authenticity is, for lack of a better term, no problem.

While wearing their influences proudly on their spike-studded sleeves, No Problem supply enough of their own energy, hooks and unique songwriting to stand above the pogo-ing pack. Channeling hardcore forefathers such as Adolescents, Zero Boys and Reagan Youth, No Problem sound as if they could have crawled out of a time-traveling DeLorean with spray-painted guitar cases in hand. With an all-out assault of buzzsaw guitars and the raw vocal energy of singer Graeme MacKinnon, Already Dead is 13 songs of attitudinal, self-assured punk rock.

The album starts off slow with the opening seconds of “Waiting for the Bomb,” then explodes into a rush of crunchy distortion played at breakneck speed, leaving one to only imagine the hell that breaks loose in the pit when this song is played live. “The Controller” features a chorus highlighted by soaring gang vocals, a signature aspect of No Problem’s sound. “Different Shades of Grey,” perhaps the strongest track on the album, is No Problem at their catchiest, and does well to show off their more melodic side, with cleaner-toned, almost surfy lead guitars in the vein of Agent Orange or the Dead Kennedys. This song alone is worth the price of admission, but Already Dead is an album that can be enjoyed all the way through without skipping a track.

Already Dead finds No Problem carrying the torch of '80s punk further into the modern world. There is no band better at melding old and new seamlessly, and Already Dead is one of the most solid hardcore albums to materialize in 2014.