State is Burning
(Fat Wreck Chords)
Punk doesn’t quite get the nostalgic love that pop-punk or even hardcore gets, for whatever reason. In case you needed a reason to reminisce about how great SoCal punk was last decade, the latest record from Israeli punk veterans Useless ID perfectly fits the bill. I have no idea if the punk scene in the Fertile Crescent is particularly, well, fertile, but Useless ID’s sound is decidedly sunny. Taking sonic cues from Bad Religion, Lagwagon, No Use For A Name, and, of course, NOFX, State is Burning is a fantastic collection of singalong poppy punk. There’s always something cathartic with humming along to such angry music, and Useless ID really understand the appeal of melodic punk.
Now, this is oh so close to pop-punk, but Useless ID’s music feels less concerned with just pushing pop melodies. Sure, “Closer to the Edge” is wonderfully catchy, but it feels more like a bar-room drinking song than a stadium smasher (likewise for the truly excellent “Land of Idiocracy”). If there’s a complaint, it’s that the band doesn’t exactly have a unique identity (the irony of their name is somewhat palpable), but it doesn’t hinder the enjoyment of these excellent tunes. SoCal punk hasn’t been done this well in a long while, and Useless ID never feel anything other than genuine.
Seriously, punk fans need to get on this album. If there’s a land other than the US (or UK, Greece, Brazil…) that is a fertile place for pissed-off punk, it’s Israel. Useless ID are still alive and kicking after all these years, and their punch is more potent than it’s ever been. There isn’t a bad tune in the bunch, and it’s much better than a certain album by a recently reunited SoCal punk band. It may be the album of the Summer.