Clay J Gladstone – Sorry
It’s the job of the music critic to be a bit of a pretentious jerk. Yep, I like to wax poetically about exotic jazz and forgotten punk jams just as much as the next person. But, deep down inside I, like most music critics, harbour a secret.
I love three-minute singles. In fact, I think that much of rock’s legacy is built around these gems of pure energy, clever lyrics that don’t outstay their welcome. I love hooks in the same way I like a Stephen Wright joke. And, frankly, it’s those singles, new and old, that I have a tendency to come back to most often.
Clay J Gladstone may have just created one of these beastly earworms and framed it in a modern rock context. Sorry glistens with the energy and production values of screamo or metalcore. But, it’s driven relentlessly by pop-punk hooks that are impossible to contain.
Look, we all want to appear cultured deep-thinkers in front of our friends. If you have to listen to this on the sly, on your headphones, just do it that way. But, just give it a chance. It’s a Green Day single disguised as an angry rocker.
Agent Orange – Everything Turns Grey
The giant archive that is the internet and the favourable with which punk-rock is viewed nowadays have afforded the luxury of looking back and reappraising guitar bands that didn’t quite get their just due. A rerelease of Agent Orange’s Everything Turns Grey seems particularly apt.
Agent Orange formed at the tail-end of the initial punk rock boom. The punk rock trio earned themselves a high degree of respect, especially from peers, and their aggressive, but catchy compositions remain favourites of those in the scene that have managed to catch them live at their peak.
For those that have not been as fortunate, Everything Turns Grey may be the jolt that guitar music occasionally able to provide. Emotional pop-punk was not started by MTV as a marketing ploy back in the late 1990s, nor by modern cloud rappers as a means to integrate guitars into their mixes.
Agent Orange were, first and foremost, really clever songwriters, blasting their compositions and performing them in a bratty manner that created some life long devotees, but also scared those assembling the radio playlists. If you’re a novice to punk, your ears may take a bit of tine tuning. But, once you get on the right wave, trust us, there’s quite a song in here.