Vinyl Vlog 487

Vinyl Vlog 487

Wednesday, 03 March 2021

A deeper look at the grooves pressed into the Now Or Never 12” EP by The 45 Adapters. From note one of their new 12” EP Now Or Never, it’s patently self-evident that while the band took almost four years between the They Call It Justice 7” and this new, six-song EP, they must have been working – because they don’t sound quite like the same band. As soon as stylus settles into groove on the A-side and the title track crunches its way out, listeners will recognize immediately that The 45 Adapters have changed; now more rock than punk (singer Gerrard Lindsay has a rasp in his throat which isn’t quite as deep as Springsteen’s, but it’s definitely on the same spectrum), there’s no way to miss the fact that the sound here feels like it was hammered flat on stage before the band walked into the studio to record it, but the grain in the surface is still visible. For some listeners, this opening may come as a shock – but the hooks are still evident and can pull a listener in deep, if they’re unaware.

As soon as the EP’s title track bolts out, listeners will be surprised by what they find in it. There, the guitars supplied by Dave Knight tread lighter (or, at least, they attempt to) than they did four years ago, but Lindsay registers as the exception as he stomps along, almost sounding as though he’s trying to weight or slow the song down. That would be easy enough to ignore if it only happened once, but then the same thing happens in both “Friendship” and “Ready Blood” – the other two cuts on the A-side – which really doesn’t do anyone any favors. True, the most open-minded and forgiving ears could overlook the discrepancy between the lightness of the instrumental performance in “Ready Blood” and its laden vocal accompaniment, but that the side closes and the needle lifts after that leaves the sensation of the song feeling pretty cringe-worthy.

Much brighter sparks of life open the B-side of Now or Never as the power of the instrumental performance as well as the vocals align much better through “Let’s Play,” and “Shabby” ably follows it to prove that the vast improvement from the A-side in the B-side’s opener wasn’t just a fluke. There, The 45 Adapters actually achieve something comparable to the lighter forms of punk that bands like Young Canadians used to trade in, and do so with a virility that’s easy to stand behind. The going gets even better with the surly, Offspring-esque grind of the guitars that powers “Broken Man” – particularly when they’re coupled with the tone of the vocals, which really reverberate like a warning shot. The song is arranged and produced in a way which is definitely capable of getting under listeners’ skin and really getting them to feel that energy – but (again) then the needle lifts because the side is over and listeners are left feeling as though whatever the band started was left unfinished here.

So, it goes without saying that Now Or Never leaves a fair bit to be desired in fans of The 45 Adapters, but it cannot be said that the record is pointless or useless. The record has plenty of flaws, but fans can inhabit the second side of the record because it is worthwhile. This should never be any potential fan’s first exposure to The 45 Adapters. But there’s no question that some fans will absolutely treasure it. [Bill Adams]


Further Reading:
Ground Control Magazine – 45 Adapters – They Call It Justice EP Vinyl Vlog – [Column]

The 45 Adapters’ Now or Never EP is out now. Buy it here, directly from Pirates Press.

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