U.S. Bombs - We Are the Problem (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

U.S. Bombs

We Are the Problem (2006)

Sailor's Grave

Duane Peters has proven to be one of the most prolific personalities in the entire modern punk scene. While U.S. Bombs haven't released a full length since 2003, Peters has since recorded and toured behind his other bands Die Hunns and the Gunfight. He's reissued material from his early act the Exploding Fuck Dolls and produced just about every band his revitalized Disaster Records imprint recently released. That already busy schedule's topped off with Peters' new role as dad to the charmingly named Clash Peters. That the U.S. Bombs have semi-regularly released 7"s in this period is a feat in itself, let alone a new record.

So when a two year slice of an individual's discography surpasses some bands' entire careers, what more can be said about it? The Bombs certainly aren't changing their game at this point, and fans of Peters' `77 inspired street punk know what to expect with We Are the Problem. The band continues to draw more from the early Clash these days, moving further away from the Pistols inspired sound of Back at the Laundromat. The U.S. Bombs still sound like an established act though; they found their niche years ago and while some may dwell on comparing the "era" of War Birth with that of the newer material the band's likely doesn't see it that way. This is life for these guys and it's pretty safe to say they're going to continue soldiering on for as long as they can. The "album cycle" is merely perception. It's us looking in from the outside.

Like Covert Action, this record does throw a few curve balls that you'll either take as a fun diversion or loath based on your tolerance for Peters' vocals. "Heartbreak Motel" in a piano driven 50's style sing-along of the sorts you'd expect form the Kings Of Nuthin. Lyrically, it's a half-hearted apology for abusing a comically long list of drugs, and Peters' sells what's otherwise a throwaway by not taking it too seriously himself. "Just Like You" is snotty punk not unlike that of the Briefs and employs a noticeably different vocal style (whether it's Peters' employing some effect or in fact Martinez or Stitch manning the mic I leave to you). "Guns of the West" is a very Clash like rockabilly-tinged number that's perhaps the best realized departure on the record.

Still, while I imagine Peters would love to crank out his own London Calling with a grand pastiche of styles, that's not this band's strength. The U.S. Bombs truly click when they launch themselves into a song with guitars blazing and Peters' spitting fire, making songs like "Hammered Again" outpace the experiments by miles. The band knows this and We Are The Problem is rightfully stacked with what works.

Of course Peters' next album, be it with the Hunns or Gunfight, is probably already in the works and that will give this record little room to resonate. Perhaps that's part of the plan though, as U.S. Bombs seem to work best in succinct, powerful busts.