Review: The Vandals

The Vandals
“Look What I Almost Stepped In…”
(Nitro Records)

Dumb punks. (Not stupid just dumb). It takes a clever wit to construct the mentality that surrounds the Vandals approach at making a song. Which is typified by fast punk chops, laced with a pop sensibility and occasionally interjected with a breakdown of intentional reworking fluff (but all done with conviction).

And of course the cheeky lyrics that comprise most every moment. The band takes story lines from their own experiences and makes fun of themselves before anyone else can. Even the process of putting out a record is humorously reflected in the opener, “Behind the Music” with slight jabs at the industry, “and the guy in A&R has got the CD in the car and thinks that tracks 4 and 6 are contenders” or “…and he’s got a good feeling – so we’re gonna take a meeting – with the radio promo and the marketing homo to see if we can get a green light” because the label is “really excited”.

There’s a plea at getting the punk kids to apologize to their parents for all the hell they’ve put them through in, “Sorry, Mom and Dad”. There’s a dis on over affectionate couples in, “Get a Room” observing lines of spit connecting mouths and other annoying habits of publicly displayed affection.

The track entitled, “Go” has a weird sampled echo of the word “Go” in the shouted chorus that is an interesting element and makes the song a standout hyper bounce and shuffle of punk.

“Kick It (You’re not the boss of me)” has a subtle pull back in the chorus backed by some warm new wave keyboard elements and spices up the guitar heavy album. It’s these small forays into working with different elements of sound or structure that make the Vandals much more listenable than their shallow approach might imply.

Basically a lot of goofy, fun inspired punk-tinged pop rocks with clever lyrics that rhyme really well. Those familiar with the Vandals sizable past catalog (10 albums) should feel right at home with this release. Want to smile? Listen to a Vandals record.