The west coast was a wild place to be from 1978 to 1981. Bands like The Germs, Black Flag, and Adolescents were breaking through California with throat strained-vocals & blazing, twangy guitars. Kids in sleeveless t-shirts, black jeans and biker boots wrapped in bandannas and chains were the norm at punk shows. The pigs would break up the shows. Junkies lined the streets looking for a fix. Kids would spit on whoever was on stage. Frontier Records was documenting the sound of this time by releasing music from bands like Circle Jerks, Weirdos, China White, Red Cross, and TSOL. If you've ever seen "The Decline of Western Civilization" you probably have some idea of what those Darby Crash days were all about.
A few years ago a band from Sweden decided to start taking that Early California sound back to heart. After 2 of the best 7" released this decade, Regulations have finally recorded an LP. Regulations spawned from Swedish Circle Jerk-ers ExTxA, but added a darker, more melodic feel. Along with Copenhagen's Young Wasteners and No Hope for the Kids, these guys have been bringing Northern Europe into Southern California.
This twenty-four and a half minute slab of wax is the best piece of punk I have heard in 2005. Oddly enough, this is on Havoc Records, but there is no hint of D-beat or studded denim vests. This is just a solid piece of proto-hardcore. If this doesn't make you feel like you've stepped into Hollywood circa 1980, nothing will. Even the sound quality sounds grainy, much like the early LA recordings. The vocals are sung in a strained voice that doesn't seem to bother much with key or tone, just snotty fury. At times the singer reminds me of Stiv Bators of Dead Boys. The guitar tone shares a lot with that of TSOL.
If these guys are trying to emulate the Frontier sound, they're doing an A+ job. While I do not normally condone bands trying to recreate sounds of the past, I have to give these guys credit. Regulations is a really good album all the way through.
8.5 / 10
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