Austrian punks DeeCRACKS are back with a new full length, sounding enjoyably like the Ramones fronted by a hardcore singer. The band’s whip speed melodic punk pair nicely with singer/guitarist Matt DeeCRACK’s red-throated intense vocals on the 16-track Serious Issues, a pretty apt title given some of the themes here. The only thing missing from the air-tight pop punk-tinged backing music is Dee Dee Ramone counting off “1-2-3-4!”
The record kicks off with the solid surf guitar instrumental “Desert Storm Surf,” before segueing into the blistering “The Samurai Challenge.” The “Ambien Shake” is also another stellar surf rock-inspired instrumental. But as ferocious as Matt’s whiskey and broken glass vocals can be, the band is at their best when they are toned down slightly and you can hear his lyrics better on songs like “We Can’t Help It,” slowed down “Don’t Throw It Away,” (easily one of the band’s best songs to date) or “Lost In the Middle”. The shouted lyrics on a song like “Not Today,” simply doesn’t compare to the deft charm of a track like “Don’t Throw It Away”. The one exception is the 30-second “Another Day,” a fun tsunami blast of classic punk rock.
At 16 tracks, even if most hover around the two-minute mark, the album could have benefitted by leaving two or three songs behind. Regardless, it’s still a solidly entertaining diversion as the world crumbles around us.