Golliwog - Plague Allegiance (Cover Artwork)


Plague Allegiance (2010)


Sure, I knew the punk and ska scene was big in eastern Europe. My visit to the Mighty Sounds festival in the Czech Republic last year not only confirmed that many people from that region love punk and ska and that Czech people know how to drink pilsner and party, but that many of the bands from eastern Europe are actually quite listenable. What I didn't expect was that a--to me unknown--band from Slovenija with a name referring to a racial slur would deliver a definite contender for the album-of-the-year award.

Because Plague Allegiance is just that: a no-frills punk rock blast that will have your fists pumping in the air and leave you wanting for more. This female-fronted four-piece have found the perfect balance among a fast pace, melody and energy. If anything, I would compare this to early and fast NOFX with slight old-school hardcore influences and female vocals.

Although this description and therefore their sound may not come off as too original, for some reason it sounds fresh. The uncomplicated songs are played with a certain urgency and spontaneity that make it all sound very convincing. The abilities of the band are best summarized in the opening and closing song. Where the first track, "Mask of Sanity," is a fast one-minute hardcore-ish opener, the closing song "Chess Pawn" is the slowest track and longest track of the album, showing off good pop songwriting skills. All the songs in between are nice mixtures of these styles, with some highlights being short and fast rockers ("Anti-Heroes," "Serotonin Fix") and others belonging to the catchier kind ("Blue on Blues").

Are there no flaws at all, then? I could have done with a few less sound samples in between songs, or maybe had cut them a bit shorter, but I guess that comes with their lyrical content: left-wing political writing. I can appreciate bands with a message, though, as long as it fits the band's style and they don't become preachy. Thankfully, such is the case here. There may be one or two songs on here that don't sound as good as the rest ("Bite Me"), but Plague Allegiance contains no really bad songs. With 10 out of 16 songs clocking in under the two-minute mark, such songs can barely disrupt the flow of the album anyways.

Golliwog surprised me with this very constant and entertaining album, which is both very energetic and catchy. Although this style has been done before by many other bands, Golliwog's honest approach makes Plague Allegiance sound fun, fresh and very convincing. I would recommend anybody on this website to give this album a go. Any fan of punk as a genre should find this very appealing indeed.