Have Nots - Serf City USA (Cover Artwork)

Have Nots

Serf City USA (2009)

Scars and Strife

Riddled throughout this snarled-upper lip rock ‘n' roll effort is a sound that's likely to make most would-be ska bands nervously upchuck their breakfasts.

Upon first inspection, the Have Nots seem to adhere to the traditional boozy pub-rock formula, one that's cemented in "There's Gonna Be a Riot," the first track on Serf City USA. Before long and without warning the record gives way to sonically charged ska-punk brilliancy and that's a sentiment not to be taken lightly by even the most casual of listeners.

Each song on Serf City seems to best the track that comes before it. "Frozen Heart," "One In Four" and "An Army of One" are all killer tunes and will likely have the skanker crowd bopping around for days. Far from your traditional ska affair, these tracks also go on to offer a much more aggressive styling, so fans of harder music are likely to dig this record, too.

There's no denying that the Have Nots have produced a quality album here, one that's as strong as a heroine kick and far from poppy. Serf City showcases bumpy bass lines and clean palm-muted guitar riffs that really seem to even the whole thing out quite nicely.

If you're looking for a healthy spark in an otherwise over-saturated genre, then the Have Nots are probably a good choice for your listening ears. Forget about the industry clutter and the many cookie-cutter punk bands that rely on a horn section to fit the bill; the Have Nots actually do the genre some justice and come out sounding fresh and new.