The Record Lounge: Reviews 01/21/11 – Social Distortion, White Lies

Social Distortion – Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes

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6 years in the making, Social Distortion released their 7th album this week, Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes. I realize I said I was no longer going to waste time with things I didn’t like, but I felt this record should be included because I do like the punk rock. And I just don’t think this is a very good record.

I so want to love Social Distortion. I like Mike Ness. I respect Mike Ness for keeping it alive and evidently enjoying some of the biggest tours the band has had. Several people I know and respect constantly tout this band to me. They have a solid spot in punk history, and not unlike the beloved X (whom I adore) have a penchant for the outlaw forms of country and punk, and their early rock predecessors.

I simply cannot seem to connect with this band.

I liked their earlier releases, even their 1990 Epic self-titled release. Yet 2 years later, I would sleep through their set awaiting the Ramones at the Bronco Bowl. I wasn’t too bowled over by Somewhere Between Heaven And Hell and threw in the proverbial towel. I’ve tried time and time again, to no avail.

I think fans of the iconic SoCal band will be happy to have another album, but I do not foresee this being an album that excites the masses and wins them new fans, me included. At this stage, it might not even be the goal.

Please Mike Ness, don’t beat me up. I’m sorry. I tried. Again.

White Lies – Ritual

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I won’t lie. I am tough on any throwback 80’s acts. I lived it and am a product of that time, cutting my teeth on the original 80’s pioneers of post-punk/new wave/alternative. In my opinion, 80’s re-visitors more often than not get it wrong, being almost more new wave than the originators, which is a feat. But on their sophomore release, Ritual, London quartet White Lies gets it pretty right.

Comparisons to contemporaries Interpol and Editors are spot on, as both also got it right, adding those 80’s embellishments to a modern post-punk style. White Lies also enjoy comparisons to darker post-punk forefathers Joy Division and Echo & The Bunnymen. Though decidedly post-punk, there are hints and nods to the new romanticism of Duran Duran and the chilly-ness of the early 80’s new wave synth driven acts present as well, but are not overpowering.

Overall, Ritual is an enjoyable listen and can stand on its own, although it will inevitably get comparisons to The Killers. And that is a shame.

~ by thesynaptic on January 21, 2011.

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