Inspection 12 - In Recovery (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Inspection 12

In Recovery (2001)

Honest Don's

I have to say, 2001 has been a spectacular year for pop-influenced punk. Between Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American, Save The Day's Stay What You Are, and Alkaline Trio's spectacular From Here to Infirmary, there has been no shortage of classic pop-influenced records.

What seemed to have been missing, however, was something from the alledged birthplace of modern pop-punk. There has been no Southern Californian-style, skate-pop punk of note. Well, until now.

In Recovery is just that record.

Before this record, most of Inspection 12's great pop-punk was available primarily from, and while most of it was quite good, it was somewhat uneven. In Recovery is a re-release of sorts of most of that older music, but recorded with an excellent producer, and almost a "Greatest Hits" collection.

Every single song on the record is a winner. I mean, for me, it typically takes one or two songs from a CD to get it stuck in my head long enough for me to listen to the full album long enough to find the hidden gems. (It was "Bloodied Up" on From Here to Infirmary, "Freakish" on Stay What You Are" In this case though, I can't think of any one track that isn't totally memorable right off the bat.

The opener "Secure" opens slowly and then breaks into a speedy, catchy little track. It continues on through a variety of songs, both major and minor in tone, and manages to throw in a variety of instruments, and guest vocalists, including Joey Cape of Lagwagon pulling backups.

And it's entirely appropriate for Joey to participate on this record, since my favourite Lagwagon record Hoss was clearly an influence. Like Hoss, In Recovery is a perfect mix of speedy and hooks. And like the aforementioned Lagwagon record, this one will be a classic soon enough.

Lyrically, there is an honesty that's missing from so much music. There is a genuiness in a track like "Sweet Sixteen" that makes you just root for these guys to be heard. Now, while I've been name-dropping like crazy in this review, I don't want to imply that this record is derivative. It's purely original, and while some of the elements may sound familiar (speedy drums, harmonies, and Fat-style guitars) it's a wholely unique concoction.

Some reviewers may dismiss this, like they do so much of the Fat-influenced music from California, but they'd be doing themselves a disservice. If you listen to this album enough, there are enough nuances, honesty, and strong performances for this to fit in your memory with classics like Hoss and Punk in Drublic.

I definitely recommend this for anyone who likes their pop hooks fast, energetic and full of integrity.