Authority Zero - Andiamo (Cover Artwork)

Authority Zero

Andiamo (2004)


Have you ever read the lyrics to Face to Face's "Don't Turn Away?" I love the album, but it's all just random, rhyming declaratory statements thrown together. It sounds good, but if you know what they're saying, it's really hard to take them seriously.

Authority Zero suffers the same problem on Andiamo. The lyrics are utter nonsense, and outside of a vaguely ‘revolutionary' theme throughout, there's really not much to "get" from Authority Zero. But if you bypass the lyric sheet, pop this CD in and hit the half-pipe, the basketball court, or the beach… it's awesome.

The sound is very early-90s melodicore, with very obvious Pennywise, Face to Face, and Voodoo Glow Skulls influences. Unlike many of the other bands that have tried to play the same sound, however, Authority Zero plays with real conviction and maintains a strong sense of composition which keeps the sound from getting stale. The band transitions seamlessly from punk, to surf, to ska, and – as with many Arizona bands – there is a slight South of the border feel with the occasional mariachi lick, a smattering of Spanish, and a decent cover of Wall of Voodoo's "Mexican Radio." Lead singer Jason DeVore also has a good set of pipes and his completely random sloganeering is well executed.

Authority Zero has been criticized in some circles as "mall-punk" and it's worth noting that this album (like their last) is on Lava and distributed by the ubiquitous Warner Music Group Company Conglomerate Amalgamated Omnimedia Concern. Obviously, people need to make their own choices when it comes to deciding how important this is. But, for what it's worth, Authority Zero seems to have done a good job negotiating potentially dangerous waters and have a reputation for taking care of their fans, a good sense of humor, and putting on great live shows… which is what really counts in my book.

Bottom line: this isn't a new classic, but it makes an excellent summer album - particularly for those who miss the halcyon days of Dr. Strange Records and Unknown Road-era Pennywise.