THE SO SO GLOS Tourism/Terrorism (Green Owl)
What happens when you stick 4 brothers, who grew up in a microcosm of chaos, in a hovel by the train tracks?
You get a cacophony of aggression and urgency, a seam-stretching externalization of messages suppressed by a burgeoning deluge of omnipresent global troubles, impatiently awaiting release.
Enter the So So Glos, a high-energy group hailing from Brooklyn, one among the numerous cradles of the hardcore movement. These boys are obscenely loud and in-your-face, and that’s just the way they like it. They want you to sit up and listen to what they have to say, and if you don’t, they’ll try their level best to drag you into their world, face-first and fists pumping.
On their upcoming shortplayer (that’s halfway between an EP and an LP, or about 27 minutes, if you were wondering) release Tourism/Terrorism, the brothers are set to drive home their brand of infectious punk rock n’ roll, replete with gang vox, snarling skapunk attitude, and enigmatically enough, tasty flavours of a more tropical sensibility; chiming, compressed surf-punk rhythms, ukeleles, and even a tambourine; weaved seamlessly into the focused anarchy. Think a bastard child of the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Bob Marley, a Black Flag record, and enough beer to cause bodily harm by volume.
That’s not to say that this entire release is one homogenous, searing punk rock anthem from start to finish. There are a number of slow breaks between verses and medium-tempo pieces to lull the less sprightly into lapses of musically-altered consciousness, such as Love Or Empire a track carried by nothing but sparingly-overdriven, lightly-picked electric guitar chords and the sneering vocal stylings of singer Alex Lavine. Or Throw Your Hands Up, another track that deviates mildly off-tangent from the rest of the album, with a sound more inclined towards an early European powerpop formula.
Production-wise, this is definitely not one for the audiophile. The values are somewhat sketchy, with a marked imbalance in the levels of a number of tracks, but look, IT’S A PUNK ROCK ALBUM. That’s where the grit is, and therein lies the attitude; the allure, if you will, that has kept the spirit of the punk movement alive from generation to generation.
So fine, maybe their timely messages of heightened social awareness may not have been conceived as a direct response to the current load of crap we, the world at large have managed to dig ourselves into, but with solid tunes like these to deliver them, at least we have proof that all is not lost. In the incomprehensible vastness of our world, it’s easy to be apathetic towards social responsibility, but there exist those who remind us that perhaps the most effective catalyst for change is simply, the Man in the Mirror.
Overall, a refreshing release and I, for one, am eagerly anticipating what these boys have to offer next.
Check out the So So Glos at their Myspace page.