The Riptides - Hang Out (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Riptides

Hang Out (2006)

Union Label Group

The Riptides represent a class of band that's necessary to the overall health of the punk rock organism. Their peers may be numerous and quite similar at times, but they'll never be redundant. They're charming and likable but they'll never make celebrities of their members. Their records will be met warmly when they arrive, but they'll never be events. This type of band is vitally important for clearing out the toxins and impurities that build up in the genre. They're white blood cells, if you will.

Hang Out launches with "That Girl," which immediately sets expectations for a Screeching Weasel pattered album. Yet the next track betrays that. "88 MPA / Unfortunate Son" is speedy street punk, similar in attitude to those greasers in the Turbo AC's or the Angel City Outcasts. This establishes the band's greatest asset, a dichotomy between juvenile, idealized teenage pop-punk like "Detention" and rough hewn pit-ready street anthems like "Red Dawn." Speaking of the latter, it completely rages, building up to an impossibly mighty call-and-response chorus. It's nearly ridiculous, and it would be in the hands of some one-note Exploited clone, but the Riptides are too smart and chase it with the self-depreciating Ramones-styled "Bonehead." It's those pairs that make this so enjoyable. Witness the sweet surf-punk of "China Doll" slated alongside the blunt-to-perfection "I Wanna Riot." I almost don't want to hear these songs on their own, the arrangement is so important. Andy Vandal can be Joe Queer one song and Al Barr in the next.

Could anyone have produced this but Mass Giorgini? Are there any more like-minded labelmates than Teenage Bottlerocket and the Lillingtons? I love that this band's positioned exactly where they should be and there's no questioning their intentions. They've set out to be nothing more and nothing less than a fun punk rock act and they've made it look effortless while keeping it vital.