The So So Glos - Kamikaze (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The So So Glos

Kamikaze (2016)


Brooklyn’s The So So Glos have never shied away from rebellion and on Kamikaze, they’re downright pissed off. In a time when many of Brooklyn’s DIY venues are shutting down at an alarming rate, the group has every right to be concerned. Brooklyn has only gotten “cooler” since The Strokes asked Is This It. But screw that. The So So Glos grew up there and have watched the borough become an amalgamation of rich and poor, with the latter getting the shit end of the stick. Kamikaze attempts to shine a light on that issue as well as themselves.

There’s plenty of self-deprecation and self-destruction spewing from singer/bassist Alex Levine, embracing his occasionally hypocritical viewpoint. Sometimes it’s ironic. Sometimes it’s poignant. Sometimes the confliction takes place within a single song, such as the excellent “Kings County II: Ballad of a So So Glo.” Levine spends the entire track tearing into two shitty kids before conceding to how similar they are to him. A song like the slowed down “Sunny Side” finds him showing off how much current circumstances are truly affecting the band. A line like “I’m on the sunny side, that’s a lie,” is recited with a sigh whereas a line as simple as “I hitched a ride to new New York” weighs like a dense brick.

The messages don’t take away from how upbeat the album sounds, though. The So So Glos have crafted twelve sing-along punk numbers. The Clash influence is crystal clear in both sound and message. Now though, the production value has been raised, opening the gates to attract new fans. It’s easy to picture any pit going absolutely wild yelling most choruses especially that of “Kings County II.” They’ve studied the melodic punk handbook long and hard.

Upset, angry, jaded, tired, and bored, set out to shine a light on the problems in their lives and their hometown: all that is The So So Glos. But Kamikaze ends on the valiant “Missionary” with Levine yelling, “Nothing’s gonna stand in my way, nothing’s gonna bring me down.” Like anyone who’s woken up from a rough few days, months, years, hope is important. The So So Glos aren’t afraid to point out flaws, but they sure as hell intend to do something about fixing them.