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July 30, 2003

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This is the sort of feeling you can’t fake … although thousands of punk bands try every day to no avail.

Made up of singer/guitarist Dan Yemen (Kid Dynamite and Lifetime) and Good Riddance drummer David Wagenschutz, Paint It Black tears the bottom out of the hopelessly overflowing sack of second-rate punk bands. Compromise isn’t an issue as the act finds a raw, no-fucking-around attitude that sits somewhere between the nihilistic ire of The Circle Jerks and Propagandhi’s pissed-off prostylizing. CVA is that no-nonsense punk record that comes along only once every few months: gritty, pointed and an exhilarating ride from end to end.

Of course, that means that it’s going to be a bit much for kids raised on Blink, The Offspring and latter-day Bad Religion. Yemen’s first-person rants aren’t just vicious and angry – they give flesh-and-blood agony to the issues that punks usually deal with on soapboxes and cold rhetoric. From “Void,” which decries the cycle of consumerism and commercialized self-help, to the mind-numbing effects of lowbrow television (“Anesthesia”), Yemen doesn’t mince words, rely on frilly phrases or ideas plagiarized from Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore – he speaks our language. In “Womb Envy” he spits out couplets like bullets that should be able to slay everyone who stands in his righteous way: “We can’t create so we denigrate/ We don’t know how to love so we settle for hate.” It’s obvious, punks, that some of you are part of the problem instead of being the self-righteous solution.

His band cranks out jagged-edged punk that’s heavy on the fisticuff-inspired riffs and rhythms. Following loosely in the vein of Propagandhi, CVA is set to rattle chains with fast-paced tempos, furious power-chord guitar work and a raw edge that makes the overproduced So-Cal punks seem so silly in comparison.

Forget punk’s quarter-life crisis. Forget all the shopping-mall hogwash. Don’t even worry about the trendiness that’s turned much of punk rock into a goofball festival of in-crowds and by-the-numbers poseurs. Paint It Black shows that after 27 years, punk rock can still pack a wallop to lay you on your ass.


Matt Schild