BAD ASSETS - SPIRIT OF DETROIT CD REVIEW IN EMPTY HANDS ZINE
Well. this is why i will never go all digital. this is why i still spend a shitload of cash on records and CDs. i hear of BAD ASSETS somewhere. And somehow, i don't get all OCD (as is my usual) and learn everything about them immediately. i didn't even look them up on the internet. i just have been listening to 3 song EP that i downloaded. Superb, strong Oi! with a splash of hardcore. cool. But i don't really know who they are. Then i order their new CD - The Spirit of Detroit - because i need some new good US Oi! Oh they're from Detroit. Oh their singer is black. And Oh, his name is Ralph. So let me get this straight, a black vocalist from Detroit named Ralph? ...hardcore and punk are too niche for this to be a coincidence. Ralph from my one of my favorite 2K hardcore bands, Death in Custody?...whom i have seen twice in Boston? This guy is carrying vocal duties for this band i already liked. sweet.
Now while i have been digging on the lo-fi, more melodic, loose production, old guy Oi! in droves lately (On File, Evil Conduct, Sydney Ducks, The Cliches, ReVilers, Marching Orders, etc); it is a triumphant break to hear some balls-out tough and crunching guitars over a stiff drumbeat. And while this has a rigid production, i wouldn't lump it with the Condemned 84 adoration that is equally rampant in this genre. This has a fantastic US Oi! sound. Track 2, "Dawn to Dusk", stands out with a great sweeping bridge and chord arrangement. It gets you riled and has a sense of variety. This song bleeds into "Factory Rat", something that could have fit right on "Oi The Gathering!", which carries a too short rocking guitar lead.
As for lyrics, BAD ASSETS sing about working, going to work, drinking, work, working more, drinking, and being Working Class. Actually, they do mix it up and get more specific lyrically (which i always like) with "Bailout" and "Too Far" and "What's Due". So, do not prematurely and erroneously mistake their working class pride as a generic umbrella of lyrics.
"Wasted Generation" comes just in time for a punkier sing along ("We are the Watsed Generation"). "Too Far" has an airtight drum beat and bursts through your ear drums sans apologies for resulting damage. "Next Stop...Nowhere" is my favorite joint. A straight Oi! song with a pounding bass drum roll to get you drinking to all too relate-able lyrics. "Bailout" is a prime example of the undeniable impact that hardcore has on these dudes. "Rocco's Revenge" is a killer catchy tune; with sing along ability, a sweet solo and a creepy crawl two step feel beat.
I think that this is a great first effort. There are nit-picking items (a little more bass in the mix; more indulgent leads for a rock and roll feel...) but if you miss the oi of the early 90's bred in thie US, this will bring you back. Good to see DetrOi!t represent.
now if we could get a BAD ASSETS/DEATH IN CUSTODY tour up New England way....
Again - JM Designs continues to raise the level of artwork on any punk or oi! that they tamp their logo on. cool photos of National Guard strolling the riot damaged streets of Detroit. But again, Smart execution of tools on the graphics- each image has purpose and nothing is done superfluously. Cheers.