Like any good student of rock ‘n’ roll, it’s clear that Blag’ard has done its homework.
On Mach II, the Chapel Hill duo has crafted a set of anthemic, anarchic songs that recall the hard-rocking garage greats, and while the tracks vary in their effectiveness, Blag’ard asserts its old-school roots with a big middle finger to indie fads.
“Life in Reverse” exemplifies Blag’ard’s ear-splitting punk rock abilities. The song’s infectious melody and forceful guitars have the effect of CPR — it’s a sudden spark that breaks the monotony of previous tracks, jolting the listener back to attention like a shot of adrenaline.
Dive Verdict: 3.5 of 5 Stars
The song has a palpable sense of urgency, and despite a few too many lyrical repetitions, Joe Taylor’s nonchalant, snot-nosed vocals are at their most potent on this track, searing his snarl into the listener’s mind.
Blag’ard imbues the majority of the album with the kind of rebellious lyricism and noisy instrumentation that recalls rock ‘n’ roll à la The Sex Pistols.
Where “Life in Reverse” shines as a clear standout, a few songs on Mach II run together like loud, distorted white noise.
Opener “Get Some” feels anemic in comparison to more powerful counterparts, a tired tune fueled by redundant riffs and even more tedious lyrics.
As Taylor sings, “I h-a-t-e it, h-a-t-e hatred,” it’s difficult to discern why this track garnered the first spot on the record, especially when it’s compared to the rest of the album’s keen garage-rock stylings.
The few forgettable tracks fade unceremoniously into the background, begging the question of whether Mach II would been more impactual as an EP.
Mach II may not be consistent, but for what it lacks in uniformity, the album compensates with a hefty dose of rock ‘n’ roll insouciance and gritty, old-school instrumentation.
Where some songs leave fleeting, forgettable impressions, others plant and root themselves firmly in the listener’s mind. It’s these riotous, relentlessly furious tracks that make the album worth its weight in garage rock gold.
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