The Adolescents are the epitome of West Coast Hardcore Punk. Hard, fast, rebellious, and unpredictable. Originating in Southern California in the early 1980’s, I was pleasantly surprized to see such an old-school, hard knocks Punk band roaming around the country. Let alone, on such a youth-riddled tour like Warped. Their latest release, Manifest Density, dropped early last month, quite abrupt and low-key. In fact, had I not searched through the catalog of bands attending Warped, I would’ve been completely ignorant of the album's existence. Kind of a soft release for a well-known Punk band, right? Anyway, let’s jump into this record.
I dove in headfirst to track one: Escape from Planet Fuck. Intriguing title, no? It’s fast-paced, treble heavy, and a great general par-for-the-course Punk tune. Classic ramblings of disparagement, displacement, and overall misanthropy are scattered throughout the opener. Unhappy Hour is an odd cacophony. It seems to emulate the delivery style of Minutemen, with an autotuned chorus, and a slew of out-of-place guitar solos. It’s as if they attempted to mix modern sound engineering, a classic Punk rhythm, and combine the two with sprinkles of Classic Rock. Were they attempting to gain mass appeal? Are they trying their best to not totally unleash their inner dad’s? I’m not sure what their motives were behind releasing this track, but I damn well know shredding solos don’t belong in Punk. Although, aside from the terrible combination, the message of “I can’t make you drink the water” is clear, and par Punk.
Jacobs Ladder is a heavy anthem of alienation and youthful misdirection. A bit of an overrated message, considering their age and demographic. However, a yet again, mediocre track. Catfish has a delightful marching beat. The vocals are far more prominent than the previously mentioned tracks, allowing for the presumed feeling of self-disconnection and brokenness within the lyrics to emerge immediate, and clean. It’s relatable, emotional, and closed-off all at once. Vs brings the album to a close, in a victorious fashion. It’s an address to perseverance, an admirable ending to a subjectively down-trodden string of tracks.
As one may correctly assume, I was greatly unimpressed with this record. It was filled with pseudo-passionate riffs and lyrics. The composition, both musically and lyrically, appeared lazily written and loosely based around some sort of philosophic Punk journey through troubled times. It is Punk in its most distilled form. It is such mediocrity that it’s difficult to review. Simply put, The Adolescents are boring and approaching senior citizen status, and this album doesn’t hide that fact.