Bombshell Rocks - From Here And On (Cover Artwork)

Bombshell Rocks

From Here And On (2003)

Burning Heart

With the release of Cityrats and Alleycats in 2000, Bombshell Rocks established themselves as the team to beat when it comes to hard driving street punk. With strong melodies, great lyrics, and powerful choruses, they were able to take a tried-and-true format to a level that a lot of bands can only dream about. So it was with great anticipation that I awaited the arrival of the package from Sweden containing their latest, From Here and On.

So when it finally appeared, what did I find?

The record starts out with a Gothy organ intro, then directly into "Begging For Mercy", a pounding hardcore anthem. Not really streetpunk, but a really strong song. So far, so good. Next into "On My Way", and - what's this, Emo? Plaintive vocals, personal lyrics, nice harmonies. Then it's on to "Warpath" - a little more anger and power, but jeez, those harmonies are starting to grate. "From Here and On" - My god, it's Bad Religion! Only with more echo. "Almost Free" is almost more Bad Religion than Bad Religion. "Out of the Cold" jumps off with three big Bad Religion "whoas" followed by "I've got a place where I can crawl in and hide. I've got a girl, and my girl is always right by my side." Obviously, someone is in love. Unfortunately, I don't care.

The rest of the album continues in this vein. "By the Blink of an Eye" is really catchy, and should probably be the first single. "Crossroads" starts out sounding like it might be a streetpunk song, but veers towards pop in the chorus. The album ends on a down note with "Cheated Again", a slow, emotional song with some minimal slide guitar. Overall, yrics have become more introspective, focusing on personal faults and relationships, vocals are sweet and croony, harmonies are everywhere. The musicianship is impeccable, the melodies catchy. This stuff will probably grow on me if I can bring myself to listen to it some more.

Bombshell Rocks is obviously still a very talented bunch. I can understand that they might not want to be restricted by their previous style. Any creative, talented band is going to change as they grow, and it is sometimes hard for their previous fans. I can respect that. But when a band makes a radical change to their sound that just happens to make it more mainstream, it's hard to argue that it was done for purely creative reasons.

Guys, there already is a Bad Religion. There already is a Millencolin. There already are a thousand poppy bands with a punk look who sing whiny songs about their girlfriends. You don't want to end up there.