Various - Punk Rock Strike Volume 4 (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Punk Rock Strike Volume 4 (2003)


Springman's annual summertime comp has brought attention to bands like Mates of State, The Wunder Years (spawned The Ghost), Thrice, Tsunami Bomb, River City High and Amazing Transparent Man (now on the label). I have never actually heard any of the first three records, but I can say that this fourth installment is very eclectic mix: I had expected all pop punk acts, and although most of the songs are melodic in nature, the comp covers a big part of the punk spectrum including some even surprising tracks. I will go over the best and most interesting tracks.

Best Tracks:

The Jealous Sound "Naïve" – This catchy and well put together tune is solid pop punk reminiscent of maybe The Stereo.

The Epoxies "Need More Time – synth heavy, female fronted new wave punk. Could be a little catchier for my taste, but still good and fans of Devo should check them out.

With bands like Thrice and Thursday getting scooped up by the majors, it seems that we have more and more bands in that melodic hardcore vein, a few decent ones on this comp being Anthym with "Broken Vessel", Break Away "Realize" (which also has almost Strung Out style speed metal at parts), and Pipedown "Risin' Up" with its vocals trading off between Refused style screaming, melodic, and gang vocals.

Some good more standard punk tracks include The Muckruckers "Out of My League," The Matches "Dog Eared Page," and Gametime "Off the Hizzle" which seems like a more guitar proficient Blink 182.

Tracks that really stick out:

Gogol Bordello "Occurrence On the Border" – a Ukranian band that dubs themselves gypsy punk. This song has incomprehensible lyrics (some may be English with a very heavy accent, some may be Ukranian) over light guitar and bass, accordion and a drum beat consisting of the bass-hihat-bass-hihat techno style beat but with real drums. Interesting and definitely not something I was expecting on this comp.

The Phenomenauts "Earth is the Best" – this song is straight out of the 50s. It is not even really punked-up in any fashion, it is rock n' roll in the traditional sense- the kind you'd hear in the movies, coming from the jukebox at the greaser motorcycle bar. I like the track, even though the lyrics are kind of silly, and I can't help yelling along "Earth - is the best!"

Ramjet "If We Were" – Ska ska ska! Yup, you heard right, and I say "right on" to these guys for getting on this comp without having the "popular sound." However, the song is really nothing special, and is something you'd expect from Reel Big Fish. It's nothing different than the popular ska of a few years ago. The lyrics are sarcastic, wishing they were a boy band, a topic that I'm sure would have been thoroughly covered by ska bands like this already were they still all the rage.

A decent comp overall, more diverse than I expected. For the low price this is available at, it certainly couldn't hurt picking this up.