3 dBs Down

Get Your Retaliation In First

Written by: MAK on 27/02/2021 12:07:30

2020 seemed to be a popular time for ska-punk from the early to mid-00s to reform and release music. First, we had Harijan release their debut album after a long wait, now we have 3dBs Down, a band in which the last thirteen years have been on a sort of hiatus, maybe only playing one or two shows a year every now and then. Hype alone for the band comes from Paul Smith of Be Sharp Promotions, who on many occasions has told us that this is the best band ever, that is enough to spark interest. “Get Your Retaliation In first” was originally crowdfunded and released for those who purchased it on that format during 2020. Then in February 2021, it has become available physically and on streaming services.

What we get from 3dBs Down is a brand of ska-punk that blends perfectly with pop-punk and skate punk vibes. It’s chirpy, packed full of energy and angst. “At My Signal” is less of ska type opener and more of a punchy pop-punk hit with some infectious vocal melodies and bouncy, yet crunchy hooks. Vocalist Matt Oastler’s voice is powerfully anthemic in a way that truly captives from the start. The riffs in the bridge remind me of the early 00s grit, a fuzz that seems distinctive to plenty of alternative DIY level bands at the time. “Moussaka” introduces the ska element with some boppy upstroke rhythms at first, but the distorted hooks soon kick in and Oastler’s high pitch cleans in the chorus dominate. The hooks crescendo towards the bridge that just gets heavier as the song progresses to a pure headbanger of a breakdown. “Count to a Million” was one of the singles leading up to this release, and was one of the best ska-punk tracks unveiled in 2020. Laden with the basement ska type upstrokes placed on top of a high octane, poppy skate punk track that is balanced out by Oastler’s infectious vocals for the catchiest chorus I’ve heard in a while. It sounds like Rufio became a ska band for a brief period.

“Everyone Here Is Better Than You” takes a quirky Billy Talent type post-hardcore meets punk rock approach, it’s angst-ridden with the crunchier hard-rock chords again, but still keeps the catchy melodies flowing. Once again beautifully balanced. “Idiot Ignorant Evil” takes a step back for some more third wave inspired ska-punk, light-hearted upstroke strums and cheerful vocals to ease us off the pedal a little. A well-placed breather track that sets up the intensity of “Pink Cardigan Twin Set” perfectly. A full-throttle straight-up punk track that loosens all the cobwebs. A stand out track with some great riffage and a fun singalong chorus to boot. “Flat Out (To Keep Up)” chimes in with teasing synth hooks that remind me of Reggie and the Full Effect in their most aggressive phase. This is another emo-tinged punk track with an atmosphere flooded with angst and a flurry of furious breakdowns. It's one of the more diverse and harder-hitting tracks on the release that again sets up “Hang in There Man”, a bouncy ska-punk track that sounds more like modern bands, switching between skank worthy upstrokes and fuzzy riffs. This is a prime “Be Sharp Promotions” song with a bit of everything. Music to dance to, rock out to and sing along to. This is a song that New Cross Inn deserves.

“Institution” once again changes the tone dramatically, dropping the energy for swaying reggae hit that sets up album closer “Light on a Dark Day”, a fast-paced skankable hit that lasts eight minutes, in which 3 dBs Down pack everything in, the fuzzy riffs, catchy harmonies, big singalong hooks and the breakdowns for an epic end to the release that truly rocks. “Get Your Retaliation In First” is a nicely diverse ska-punk album that gives us something a bit different, it’s heavy without really being a skacore sounding album. It’s not vicious, it’s not quite metal or hardcore. It’s more melodic skate punk that leans slightly toward the aggressive and emotional side. The well-balanced elements help the album flow seamlessly and for anyone that likes any of these influences then it’s easy to find a handful of tracks to truly latch onto as favourites for years to come.


Download: Count to a Million, Pink Cardigan Twin Set, Flat Out (To Keep Up)
For The Fans Of: Call Me Malcolm, The JB Conspiracy, Millie Manders and the Shut Up
Listen: Facebook

Release date 15.02.2021
Engineer Records

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