Good Riddance - Bound by Ties of Blood and Affection (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Good Riddance

Bound by Ties of Blood and Affection (2003)

Fat Wreck Chords

These guys are punk, no doubt about it. With all the silly debates over what is punk and what isn't, no one can deny these guys the label. They play fast, loud, raw music. Their vocals, while mostly melodic, are gritty, and their lyrics are mostly political in nature. They walk the walk, with portions from every one of their CDs going to worthy causes. And they aren't just some band hopping on the bandwagon, because they've been doing their thing for over ten years, have previously released five full lengths and two EPs, and they tour constantly. While their sound at times is leaning towards hardcore, no one can deny that Good Riddance is punk rock. Really solid punk rock at that.

With this, their sixth album on Fat, the boys don't disappoint. It starts off strong with a huge drum fill and a scream by Russ, leading into "Made to Be Broken," a melodic rocker akin to the sound on the "Phenomenon of Craving" EP. "Boxing Day" is poppy song, but keeps their signature edge and has some cool breakdown sections; this track reminds me of tracks off "Ballads from the Revolution." "The Dubious Glow of Excess" has that darker side that was prevalent on "Operation Phoenix," with Russ talking the verses and then singing over the hard-hitting choruses. And of course they don't forget the sound clips from movies and political speeches to start lots of the tracks, like all their albums, along with a satirical cheesy message from the government to top off the album as the secret track.

"There's No I in Team" is my favorite track, a hyper-tempo song with a catchy chorus and an interlude that lays back as Russ sings "We haven't got the luxury / of neutral observation / ‘cause when it all is said and done / we stand or fall as one!" with that last line having some sweet harmonies over it making it that much more powerful. "Saccharine," "Remember Me" and "Bobby Baun" are some other high points.

While this new album shows characteristics of their past work, it maintains a better flow than "Ballads…" which, while great, portrayed an almost confused band, with songs switching off from super-poppy to hardcore. This album is closer to their last record "Symptoms of Leveling Spirit" in the raw-yet-melodic punk style they have settled on, yet this album is higher quality songwriting overall than that previous record. While this does not top their classic "Comprehensive Guide to Moderne Rebellion," it is definitely near the top of their catalog and should win over some new fans as well as please the old.