Social Distortion

Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes

Written by: PP on 14/01/2011 03:59:15

Social Distortion. Considered by many to be the grandfathers of the US punk rock scene, they sure have taken their time in between records. This is a band that was formed more than three decades ago in 1978, but are only just gearing to release their seventh studio album in "Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes" at the dawn of 2011. I mean, Rise Against are about to release their sixth album and they've been around only for a decade or so, just to put things into perspective. Quality-over-quantity, I suppose, because each Social D album has been solid, even if "Sex, Love and Rock'n'Roll" isn't quite comparable to "Prison Bound" or "Mommy's Little Monster".

Calling Social D a punk band in 2011, however, would be a bit of a stretch based on today's standards. Though a song like "Machine Gun Blues" preserves its core old school California punk rock sound in principle, it'll come across as a southern-state flavored, bluesy rock'n'roll song much like most of the recent output by the band. A healthy dose of rockabilly and country exists across the album, though that's not necessarily bad considering it more or less makes up the quintessential Social Distortion sound nowadays. And that, my friends, is what you'll find throughout "Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes": classic Social D material that still sounds just like the band did 30 years ago. Best of all? It doesn't sound dated at all in 2011. The way Ness/Wickersham live and breathe the southern "jailhouse rock" lifestyle through their Americana-styled guitars on "Bakersfield" screams timeless classic all over, not to mention the superb rendition of late 70s/early 80s punk rock on "Gimme The Sweet And Lowdown". It all sounds refreshingly believable, despite the songs essentially consisting of simple three chord structures and blown out southern-rock solos originally designed and used back in early 80s.

More importantly, Social D in 2011 sound every bit as energized and convincing as they did during their heyday. They've been gone for over six years, but you couldn't tell based on the tunes on this album. Each song represents classic punk-n-roll from the old days, before anybody even came up with the idea of auto-tune, resulting in another classic album that stays faithful to the Social D sound several generations have grown to love. Simple, three/four chord punk/rock with a laid back, chilled out attitude and impeccable sense for what makes a really, really good song. If you ever wondered whether Social D was still relevant in 2011, listening to "Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes" will reaffirms the notion that a classic sound will never die.


Download: Gimme The Sweet And Lowdown, Machine Gun Blues, Bakerfsield
For the fans of: The Hold Steady, The Bones, Reno Divorce
Listen: Myspace

Release date 18.01.2011

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