Squad Five-O really split the faithful down the middle on this one; half the fans thought it was a logical progression towards a more commercial pop punk sound, and the other half hated it…for the very same reason. (Ah well, at least everyone was on the same page in some way.)
I loved the record – I thought it combined all the elements of classic punk and glam with modern production and an infectious energy that never seemed forced or phony. This was no preening, choreographed Fall Out Boy posturing – this band wanted to rock for all the right reasons and was able to capture that on a studio disc.
Well, I guess it doesn’t matter. Poof! Adam and Dave moved along to become Marah’s guitarist and drummer, respectively, in what was probably that band’s best lineup to date. Of course Marah being Marah, the Bielankos cleared the personnel decks on the eve of the tour for their latest album, and…that was that. Adam and Dave (along with another ex-Marahite, Kirk Henderson) now have Bloodline (I’ll be linking to my review as soon as it’s published) so the odds on Squad 6-O are probably slim to none.
None of that affects just how good this record is, so whether you hold out hope for a reunion or light a candle to the past, give it a shot. Here’s my original take five years ago when I rated it my #2 album of 2004, just behind Green Day‘s American Idiot…
LATE NEWS BREAKING (Capitol)
Matt Wallace producing your band means you get the big rawk sound made for radio and – better yet – your record will probably get a spin on the airwaves to see if it can survive. After years of grassroots punk touring, the Squad takes their shot with a major label to see if they can outrun the Rancid/Clash tag they’re been stuck with. Truth is they’re all over the map on this new release, from the Urge Overkill nod in “Always Talkin’, Never On The Run” to the country-via-Del Lords “Train Of Shame”.
Naturally there’s the requisite ska-punk dalliances and the throaty vocals of yelper Jeff Fortsun, but it’s drummer Dave Petersen who really sells every song (and what do you expect from a guy who played in a Ramones tribute band – lethargy?). Overall, some great stuff – dashes of glam and Izzy Stradlin, driving bass lines hammering my favorite track “Left Alone” – even their overlong closer “Everything” could be forgiven as being anthemic. So let’s hope the jocks see the Matt Wallace imprint, pop it in and let it ride. Regardless, you can go to the store and cast your vote monetarily.
Buy a copy at Amazon.
Squad 5-O discography.
Visit their MySpace site for a listen.