Left Alone - Dead American Radio (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Left Alone

Dead American Radio (2006)


My biggest complaint with Left Alone's sophomore effort Dead American Radio is that I got it about four months too late. If I had this record through the summer I would have incurred a lot of tickets for parking my car at the beach and playing Dead American Radio loud enough to hear while going for a swim.

There's no point in hiding the obvious: Left Alone sounds like Rancid -- a lot like Rancid.

While nobody can accurately reproduce Tim Armstrong's singing, Left Alone's guitarist/vocalist Elvis manages to tread the fine line between paying tribute to their musical forbearers and blatantly imitating them. While the moments bordering on imitation sound great if you can get past the obvious similarities between Left Alone and Rancid, it's when the band takes that influence and does their own thing that Dead American Radio really shines. This is street punk with a heavy dose of Latin American influence (both musically and lyrically, as singing is done in both English and Spanish). One of the best elements of the album comes from Noe, who plays sax and organ and contributes a sense of harmless melody to the music, which would otherwise come off sounding much rougher without it.

A lot of people are likely going to write this album off as just another street punk album. If you're into street punk, that's fine, but it would be a shame for people to miss out on this just because their image reminds you of the Csualties.

While the band and their label place emphasis on the lyrical substance on Dead American Radio, I find it easier to ignore that aspect of the album and focus more on the personal politics the band addresses. You can't expect to be taken seriously as a political band with a song called "I Hate Emo," can you? Dead American Radio is a fun record that sounds like city streets in the summer time, be it New York City or Mexico City. And that's a great sound.