Down Memory Lane - Recycled Punk Rockers (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Down Memory Lane

Recycled Punk Rockers (2016)


Down Memory Lane’s Facebook page describes them as ‘melodic punk-rock 90’s style,’ and I would say that description is spot on. Combining punk with the riffs, solos, and ‘sweet lixx!’ of thrash metal, DML proudly lives up to the pedigree established by some of the greatest bands in the genre during the heady days before the big punk explosion in ’96. On their new EP, ‘Recycled Punk Rockers,’ this Montreal-based quintet grabs you by the ear from the first track and doesn’t let go. All five songs clock in between three and four minutes, giving you a quick burst of energy without wearing thin.

Down Memory Lane is such an appropriate name for this band. The lead track, ‘Eternal Martyrs,’ immediately threw me back twenty years- tapping my foot and grinning like an idiot. The music reminds me of nothing less than punk luminaries such as No Fun At All and Strung Out, the guitar chords interlaced with well placed ‘chucka-chuckas’ of palm-muting at the just the right time. All the while the lead and backing vocals immediately gave me a vibe like Millencolin in their prime.

‘Healed from Me’ and ‘The End of a Story that Never Began’ continue this trend. Each successive song increases the excitement and my foot taps a little harder.

If this *were* the mid-90’s, ‘Angel Without Wings’ would be the song that would get radio play, and would bring the major labels a’courting – This is the EP’s ‘Soulmate,’ if you catch my meaning. The poppiest song of the bunch, it also features a female on guest vocals (identity unknown). My one complaint is that she isn’t utilized enough, and I would’ve preferred to hear more of her vocals on the final lap of the track.

If that is the poppiest song, then the final track, ‘Smoke and Mirrors,’ is the opposite. Likely the most modern song of the bunch, starting with a deep growling bass-line and then joined by exciting fret-work on both guitars, I can almost imagine this as a track from Lagwagon’s recent album ‘Hang’… just replace Doowy’s vocals with Joey Cape, and no one would know the difference. It is just that good.

‘Recycled Punk Rockers’ is a solidly produced album. The drums are clear, which is always a plus in my opinion. The guitars get kind of lost at some points, but not enough to detract significantly. All vocals are clear, and the backing vocals are brought in at just the right volume for full effect.

I would give this EP five stars, but I knocked one off because, although it is fun and exciting, there really is no breakout song. I also feel that the drums, while competently played with some nice fills, tend to be a bit generic. One thing that stood out with the best of the 90’s punk bands was usually some thrilling percussion, which I just couldn’t find here. This is not to knock Frank's skills, but an observation that, maybe, he should break out a little more often.

If you were ever a fan of the 90’s punk scene, specifically the Fat and Epitaph bands that broke big in the latter half of the decade, then Down Memory Lane is a group you should invest some of your time (and money) in.