Punk anyone? Well, what kind? Punk is a broad church, mind. This isn’t scratchy, jittery British 70s punk. Nor is it US west coast pop-punk. Nor is it US east coast hardcore punk. Diaz Brothers are attached to that strand of punk that came out of California in the late 80s; it sounded as hard as nails but with real songs to match up to the angry ideas. You know, like when Descendents toughened up, figured out how to make their guitars snarl and got their records mixed properly. (I’ve just had an internet rummage and it’s called “melodic punk”, apparently.)
The songs here bristle with energy, blast past at full throttle and you find yourself humming them in the morning. The musicians are closely locked together but everything still sounds human without that robotic, brittle feel some hard rock has, once everything has been nipped, tucked and primped to the Nth degree on Pro-Tools. The vocals hit the sweet spot somewhere between Dave Grohl, Chad Price and James Hetfield, always sung hard and heartfelt yet able to lace the melody with melancholy should the subject matter require it. It’s this recurring human element that makes these songs so effecting. “On Memory Hill” has vocal harmonies that made my hair actually stand on end. “This Is My Oppressor” has an overdriven wah-wah solo Slash would be proud of. “The Last Goodbye” has an unexpected doubling up of the beat that is executed with a casual flourish.
I listen to bands like Diaz Brothers and it really makes me wonder what all the fuss about bands like IDLES is about. It’s not enough to SHOUT! passionately and play, like, REALLY LOUD! It gets you through about 2 and a half songs but where do you go from there? Music is so much more captivating in every way if you know how to write melody and give a song a shape. Goodness knows Autumn 2020 is a time to simultaneously feel angry / sad / hopeful. Your punk rock soundtrack is here.
By: Eastside Jimmy