Album Review: Good Riddance - 'Peace In Our Time'

21 April 2015 | 11:26 am | Staff Writer
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The first rule of classic punk is don’t screw with classic punk. Good Riddance have been around since the 90’s (bar their pre-revival hiatus) and they follow that rule to a T (ironically, because classic punk isn’t quite enamoured with being told what to do).

It’s like the jump between 20th and 21st century Good Riddance is non-existent; they are who they’ve always been, with the same authority-opposing fire they’ve kept burning for so long. In the style of Bad Religion and NOFX, ‘Peace In Our Time’ calls institutions out on the skeletons in their closets, and the not-so-hidden flaws they have on show. Opener ‘Disputatio’ kicks off the disillusionment, and ‘Teachable Moments’ offers a social commentary on, to name one lash-out among many, ‘small-minded misogynists’. Thanks for stepping up, guys.

‘Grace and Virtue’ is the most haunting track on the record. It’s allusive and sarcastic, sure, but its disconcerting intensity can be found buried in the offputtingly upbeat tune that accompanies lyrics like ‘you will burn for your lies’. Everyone loves a condemnation. Empathetic cynics will also enjoy ‘Running On Fumes’, and it's hard to ignore the dark connotations of a track named 'Year Zero' given the concept's implementation in world history.

Apart from its serious subjects, ‘Peace In Our Time’ has another virtue: it shreds. ‘Contrition’ has a lead guitar that’s impressive to say the least, while biting, strong drums make ‘Our Better Natures’. Edgier tracks like ‘Take It To Heart’ and 'Dry Season’, which are more decisive down to their chords, add character to the album where it may have tipped the scales from consistency into repetition. The latter also leans more towards melodic hardcore with uncleans dropping by for a visit towards its end, upping its impact a notch.

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It’s nice to know that pure, unfiltered music like this exists in our current climate, and though it isn’t a groundbreaking invention of institutional rebellion, it is another welcome album to add to your collection.

Interestingly, Good Riddance are among many earlier-active punk bands that have re-united to reinstate their record's place in an iTunes library near you. What bands like this have proven is not only have they still got it, nothing's changed: everything they're saying is as relevant as ever.

‘Peace In Our Time’ is jam packed with tracks that are short, direct and finger-pointing. Good Riddance don’t give a damn about anything but putting up middle fingers to whoever they should be raised to, and by the end of this record you’ll probably be joining them.

1. Disputatio

2. Contrition

3. Take It To Heart

4. Half Measures

5. Grace and Virtue

6. No Greater Fight

7. Dry Season

8. Teachable Moments

9. Washed Away

10. Our Better Natures

11. Shiloh

12. Running On Fumes

13. Year Zero

14. Glory Glory