By Oli Bateman
Its 2003, I’m Thirteen years old, and I’m being crowd surfed from the back of the main hall at Exeter Uni, right to the front of the stage for the hundredth time that evening. The support acts as I vaguely remember them, were a punk band called the Riot Dolls, and another band that were just an awful insult to what I would describe as Pop Punk, (of which I cannot remember their name). Then the super awesome band that was Allister played a great set showcasing their second album Last Stop Suburbia. The night as it happens was going very well. It was one of my first proper gigs as a newly appointed rock enthusiast and I’ve already bought a T-shirt and managed to sneak a bunch of booze into my system without bouncers suspecting anything. Then it happens, the dirty chunky distortion rings through the hall and the brass section bellows into Gainesville Rock City. The room erupts into a storm of cheers and communal dancing, the PA seems louder and clearer than it has done all night and there is a surge of people desperately stampeding to the scene of the noise. Less Than Jake turned the main hall of Exeter Uni into a happy riot that night where enemies became friends and inhibitions were thrown away. It is from that happy go lucky Ska-Punk influence that we arrive today at London based band New Riot.
The band members are clearly a wistful bunch of musicians, who like me share a love for the Ska-Punk genre in a very nostalgic way. Being older than I am, I suspect they have probably enjoyed the Ska-Punk scene longer than I ever have, and obviously believe that the sound deserves a decent hearing in 2012. Bands before them like Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, and The Suicide Machines, paved the way in terms of how the genre has developed into the recognisable signature Ska sound we hear today. New Riot’s sound encompasses that straight up kick-your-heels-skanking in large numbers type of situation that you are presented with at any raucous Ska gig, and Live Fast, Die Young is no exception to the formula.
The Brass section is punchy and melodic throughout, providing excellent dynamic stabs and hooks which fill out the distorted foreground noise of the guitars. The vocal mimic during the bridge is a clear understanding of a catchy melody (proving that these boys didn’t just get out of the school orchestra) and is repeated to great success. The second verse proves that New Riot have firm roots within the Punk genre, and with a slight lean towards good old American Hardcore, demonstrate a more solid sound through the lone drums and more aggressively written lead vocals. As this second verse progresses I’m sorry to discover there are no ‘Oi’s’ punctuating the wall of sound, but to my liking it actually doesn’t need any, a lot of Punk influenced bands using a scripted ‘Oi’ ruin the integrity of their desired sound by turning it into a cliché, but New Riot stays clear of this tool and focuses their attention on assembling an anthemic first release from ‘Raising The Stakes’.
If this track is to fall down anywhere, it’ll be because of the unimaginative vocals that lace the entire up tempo ensemble. Brilliant Ska-Punk songs of the past tend to tell a story or at least have a narrative that sets them apart from any other song. Tracks that come to mind instantly are the excellently written ‘Date Rape’ by Sublime, and the radiantly anthemic ‘Malt Liquor Tastes Better When You’ve Got Problems’ by the Gods of Ska-Punk Less Than Jake. Arguably ‘Live Fast, Die Young’ has no need for heartfelt lyrics conjured up from the soul of a tormented man, or the heroine educed hole that you were in for umpteen hours straight, Its simple four word chant is enough to create the atmosphere that this songs musical structure exudes. Maybe we’ll see a more in depth side to the band vocally when their E.P ‘Raising The Stakes’ is released later this year, but for now, ‘Live Fast, Die Young’ encapsulates everything that is good about Ska-Punk. The Brass section is catchy and vibrant, the rest of the band provides unmistakably awesome Punk sounds, and the lead vocal encourages you to jump around like a Ska kid should.
You can Download New Riots new Track ‘Live Fast, Die Young’ for FREE HERE!
Their upcoming EP Raising the Stakes can be pre-ordered now at – http://newriot.bandcamp.com/album/raising-the-stakes
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