I’m doing my damnedest not to judge this book by its cover, because Stiff Richards is far and away the worst band name I’ve heard in some time.
With that out of the way, they say punk is an angry genre. Sometimes that’s in the lyrics, sometimes the shouting, sometimes the overall sonic impression. This is the latter. It’s short and fast bursts of fury with melodic undertones. It’s that old kinda punk that lives by the code of short, fast, and loud and, when you listen, you really hear the frustration and you feel it yourself. There’s an element of showmanship to it on top of the raw emotion.
Musically speaking, this record brings’77-influenced sounds with melodic guitars and basslines and a lot of crashing cymbals, but with vocals that truly sound pissed off. The guitars jut and swerve in between melodic bits: just keeping the car on the road, a semblance of control in a chaotic landscape. There are some garage rock elements in the background giving a clanging, noisy and earthy vibe to go along with the swagger and boiling anger.
“Got It To Go” is one of the standouts with a heavy, repetitive hook that pummels while the vocals shouts atop a big pogo beat. The vocals are yelled out with a bit of rasp -- it sounds as if he’s been shouting all day and the wear-and-tear makes it connect all the more. Generally speaking, the lyrics are simple: short words, repetition and quick bursts of words shouted out. They are meant for impact, but also delivered with a bit of slur that can make it hard to decipher at times, like in “State Of Mind” or “Glass.”
To really break it down to the basics, begin with ’77 punk and infuse it with ‘80s So. Cal energy and pepper with some more dynamic drumming. The record spins for just under a half-hour and it’s easy to picture a live show lasting about the same, with everybody drenched in sweat and physically spent by the end.
The only thing I don’t enjoy about this record is the name.