ALL - Percolater (Cover Artwork)


Percolater (1992)


As a kid it is hard to say what exactly draws you into choosing an album off of the shelf. Perhaps it is the influence of someone older, or maybe you heard a song at a friend’s house, and sometimes it could be as simple as the album art. In this particular instance it was both album art and the song “Dot” that drew me towards Percolater in my younger years. Despite ongoing arguments with some of my close friends within the music scene, Percolater remains my favorite All release to this day.

All was the band for me that opened the door to a lot of other punk bands when I was younger, ironically including the gateway for my discovery of The Descendents. At this point in my life I prefer the Descendents musical catalogue to that of All, but All will always hold a special place in my heart. Specifically, I believe that Percolater is a record that is often overlooked by punk rock fans, which I find disappointing on several levels. Historically speaking, Percolater has some interesting firsts and lasts in regards to the bands career. Percolater was All’s first release following the band members departure from living in a shared store front in LA to a house in Missouri, as well as serving as vocalist Scott Reynolds last LP with the band prior to his departure, and ultimate replacement by Chad Price. Percolator displays a wider range of influences than previous releases by this group of musicians including more tempo changes, doo-wop melodies, and the 80’s metal influenced guitar riff in “Hot Plate”. Many of these aspects of All are still commonly heard in today’s punk rock and indie scenes.

Musically, Percolater is a fast paced punk rock record that flows nicely between hard-hitting skate-punk style anthems and melody driven mid-tempo songs such as “Dot”, “Breathe”, and “Egg Timer”. The majority of the songs are short and to the point, with a total running time of just over 30 minutes for 14 tracks, which is one of my favorite aspects of this record. No chorus or melody is over done; the songs always leave you wanting more. Percolater rips from start to finish, the drumming highlights the skill of Bill Stevenson, and his ability to transition seamlessly from blazing speed and technical fills to a laid back groove without missing a beat. The vocals maintain a tongue in cheek vibe that has highlighted the bands style from the beginning.

The influence of All’s musical catalogue can still be heard throughout the current punk rock community despite the band being overshadowed in recent years by the re-emergence of The Descendents. Percolater in particular often seems forgotten, and in some cases completely overlooked for other All and Descendents releases. The impressive manner in which songs like “Dot” and “Egg Timer” have aged, combined with the engaging and technical musical performance of the band is worth the ongoing attention of the punk rock community in and of itself, regardless of the albums historical significance within the bands career. While I have also engaged in many debates over the preferred vocalist throughout All’s career, which is a conversation I will be avoiding here, Scott Reynolds nails it on this release in both lyrical content and delivery.

If you are one of the punk rock fans who has not given Percolator the chance it deserves, I strongly encourage you to do so. You won’t regret it.