Left Alone

Checkers & Plaid

Written by: PP on 07/08/2021 12:53:24

I'm not exactly sure why Left Alone never got the attention they deserved. Picked up by Tim Armstrong himself after hearing 2004's "Lonely Starts & Broken Hearts", the band has throughout their career delivered several criminally underrated records that showcase the best aspects of ska and punk. "Checkers & Plaid" is their sixth album overall and their first in seven years; its title references ska ("Checkers") and punk rock ("Plaid"), underscoring exactly what this record is all about in as concise a manner as you can imagine.

Indeed, throughout the 23-minute record, the band swings back/forth between the two genres from catchy, upbeat punk rock tracks with street vibes down to straight-up ska. There's even a Spanish language song "Te Quiero Ver" on the record. Now if that description sounds familiar, well, it's because bands like Authority Zero, The Interrupters, and even the mighty Rancid themselves have made careers out of the style, which makes it all the more strange Left Alone has always been... well, left alone by the scene.

On this record, however, the band strings hit song after hit song for the punk rock scene. From the upstroke ska of "Mile High" and its rowdy atmosphere that's guaranteed to get venues and hips moving, to the infectiously catchy sing-alongs of "The Darkness", "Scars" or "Blackhole", there isn't a song on this record that you'd want to skip. It's just rough enough around the edges to avoid an overpolished sound, leaving behind an expression that feels dangerous like a punk record should, but is so jam-packed with catchy melodies and infectious hooks that by the end of it, you're just wondering how the hell this record isn't getting more attention this year?

Yeah, it's simple. Three to four chords played in high tempo with gruff vocals on top. But its simplicity is exactly why a song like "Into The Sun" grabs its listener on first listen. Its driving rhythm and memorable vocals have you singing along in no time. And sometimes that's what punk rock is all about: great melodies delivered in a breakneck speed fashion. That you also get a hint of ska in the process is just a bonus in my opinion.


Download: The Darkness, Scars, Blackhole, Lush, Into The Sun
For the fans of: Authority Zero, Rancid, The Interrupters
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.04.2021
Hellcat Records / Smelvis Records

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