The Interrupters - Say It Out Loud (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Interrupters

Say It Out Loud (2016)

Hellcat Records

The Interrupters have been a polarizing band since they burst on to the scene with their self-titled debut album in 2014. At the same time they have a pretty massive following among those that embrace ’90s ska bands like Reel Big Fish and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. There was clearly a major split as to how the punk scene viewed them. Those ska fans really enjoyed their debut record, but others found it to be derivative and overly simplistic with cliché lyrics. So of course when the band announced that they were releasing a new full-length their fans were incredibly excited, while a lot of us rolled our eyes in prejudgment. And I have to admit that I was one of the skeptics, but once I sat down and gave Say It Out Loud a listen, I was very surprised by the big improvements the band made when comparing it to their last LP.

Something that was definitely missing from The Interrupters’ first album was a horn section, which is a significant piece of the puzzle when playing this kind of music – unless of course you are going for the crustier kind of ska punk, but they weren’t. Those songs are very clean and straightforward ska tunes. This time around they did include a horn section much more often and that alone made this release a lot more interesting than the last record. Songs like “Phantom City,” which features Tim Armstrong (come on, you knew he’d show up on this album, too) and “The Valley” not only consist of big and bright horn sections that carry these tracks, but even the guitar chord progressions and bass lines are way less predictable than the ones on the last record.

Say It Out Loud, much like the self-titled album is not just a ska album. There are a solid bunch of straight pop punk tunes as well. Just like the ska tunes on this record, the pop punk songs are also a significant step up from the ones on the self-titled release. Tracks like “On A Turntable” and “Control” show that this band can write near anthemic pop punk songs with very catchy melodies. Not only that, but these songs also exemplify another definite improvement when it comes to Aimee Interrupters’s lead vocals. She has finally begun to mature into her own unique style and not sound as if she is trying to mimic someone else any more.

Now just because all of these improvements were made on Say It Out Loud does not mean that the band got rid of all of their flaws. One of the other major problems from their first album was that the lyrics tended to get very corny and stale. I’m sure the band did not mean for them to come off like that, but that is what happened in quite a few of their earlier songs. On this record though, overall the lyrics are much less cliché or not at all. But that is not absolute when it comes to this album. The songs “By My Side” and “Divide” do make you cringe a bit, but the song “Loyal” is really where they fell into their bad habit of using trite lyrics. The clearest example from that track is the chorus line “Loyal ‘til death/’Til death what we do/We stand together/We stand by our crew.”

Say It Out Loud is solid album and a big step forward for The Interrupters. It is by no means perfect, but there are some good ska and pop punk jams on here. It is a fun record that really doesn't take itself too seriously. That seems to be The Interrupters’ shtick and that’s fine. For those that dismissed them after listening to their self-titled album, give this one a try. You may be surprised like I was. And for those that enjoyed their earlier work, there is no doubt that you will indeed to enjoy this record as well.

Author’s Note:

Kudos to The Interrupters for writing the song “The Valley.” It is about time that part of Los Angeles got some recognition. It is always Hollywood, Beverly Hills, or Santa Monica that get all of the attention. Way to represent where you (and I) are from in your music.