The Goons - No Leaders (Cover Artwork)

The Goons

No Leaders (2000)

American Punk

How many of you are aware that one of the best punk rock bands in the country resides in Baltimore, MD? My guess is all too few, but unfortunately I'm also guilty of this crime against the scene. Despite having attended numerous Goons shows over the years, I've never once picked up one of their recordings. So, when No Leaders was dropped into my lap, I was excited to see what this great live band could do in the studio.

Much to my surprise, the answer is that they can blow away not only anything I've ever seen them do in a live setting, but just about every single punk album that's come out this year. Upon first listen, No Leaders ran me over like a steamroller, and as the disc ended I found myself scrambling to catch up with said steamroller that I may have the pleasure of being run over again.

"White Tide" begins No Future's 20-minute rampage with a blindingly fast, yet still melodic punk song that reminds me of bands like the Stitches or the Candy Snatchers, ie bands that infuse the sound and vibe of '77 punk with the speed and aggression of hardcore. This song (like all the others) flies by so quickly I barely know what hit me; the guitar solo in particular has me begging for more, since it's only about five seconds long.

As for the other 11 tracks on the disc (13 tracks in total are listed on the insert, but there are only 12 on the disc for some reason), they race by in a similarly pleasurable fashion. Some tracks take on a more straightforward hardcore vibe (sort of like the Exploited, but without sucking) and some sound more like trashy rock and roll, but every single song blows me away.

This is a disc that I want to play again and again, and if you do yourself the favour of picking it up, you'll feel the same way. It's a shame that this band doesn't tour more, because if the country new about them, they would easily be the kings of the '77 set. However, just because all your friends aren't listening to the Goons (yet), don't let that stop you from checking out one of the best bands out there today.

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