None More Black – [Album]

Monday, 08 November 2010

It's funny how the mores and values of punk rock have changed over time. Since the genre first began to build a head of steam in the Seventies, the walls separating what punk “is” and “isn't” have been torn down and rebuilt with each re-examining or “renaissance” to the point that, now, every generic line has been totally obscured. That's probably seen as a tragedy by some, but it is an opportunity for others. Take None More Black for example – had the band's new album (their third), Icons, been released twenty-five years ago, it would have been laughed at as hard rock pretending to be punk. Had the album been released fifteen years ago, it would have been ignored at worst, or regarded as the pallid flotsam to float up after the wave of Green Day, The Offspring, NOFX and Rancid hit the public. Now in 2010 though, because the mainstream has managed to blanche or diffuse punk as much as it has, None More Black has a legitimate shot at breaking through.

To be brutally fair, Icons isn't a bad record for None More Black – in fact, a case could be made for it being the band's best album to date. From the opening rip of “Mr. Artistic,” guitarist Colin McGinniss storms forth with a monster set of chicken-fried chops which will start pushing the adrenaline levels of listeners skyward, while  the rhythm section manned by Paul Delaney and Richard Manino begins slamming petulantly against every obstacle in its' path. That might be enough to get any pit moving, but the cherry on top is singer Jason Shevchuk, who crests in to offer up his best vocal performance since Kid Dynamite folded ten years ago. The combination of those elements is the hook that will pull listeners in: it doesn't sound exactly like the hordes of other bands peddling “the new punk.” Granted, it's not the single greatest sound in punk rock ever, but it's better than most of the other major label tripe being crammed down the throats of impressionable misanthropes, so that has to be worth something. With that stage set, None More Black continues along its' chicken-fried, cock-swinging path through songs including “Stills Stern Lang & Norris,” “Cupcake Wednesday,” “I'm Warning You With Peace & Love,” “Sinatra After Dark” and “Backpedal,” which all could presumably be called punk in a pinch, but really sound more like the forgotten anthems of Nineties hard rock radio (Nashville Pussy and Megadeth, most notably) to anyone old enough to remember that period.

Is any of what None More Black presents on Icons a bad thing? It depends on who you ask – some will giggle at the poses NMB strike here, and some will say it's the best new rebellious thing ever. Neither is wrong, necessarily; the beauty of the passage of time is that, with enough time gone by, every dog can have its' day and, if "redneck punk" is to be the new favorite flavor of the moment, None More Black are poised to lead the pack.



None More Black – “Iron Mouth Act” – Icons

Icons is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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