PUNK’S NOT DEAD A REVIEW OF PUNK MUSIC AND OTHER RANDOM CDS
Zero Boundaries Present in ‘Andiamo’
Authority Zero Confuses Music Genre Sorters With New AlbumBy Derik Thomann
June 29, 2004
After winding up the East Coast leg of the Vans Warped Tour 2004, Arizona punks Authority Zero respond to the air wave hogging pop-punk revival with their second Lava/Atlantic release, “Andiamo.” Andiamo, meaning “let’s go” in Italian, is a tribute to Authority Zero’s multi-genre roots. Blending SoCal punk, reggae, and ska, Authority Zero successfully cuts a diverse album which can appeal to any ear.
Formed in 1994, Authority Zero did an astonishing eight years of touring before releasing their first album, “A Passage of Time.” “We were broke and we were really young kids,” lead singer Jason Devore explained. “We’ve gone through, like, so many two- or three-song demo recordings, but they were never good at all, nothing that anybody would want to listen to. We just kept saying we’ve gotta record something.” In 2002, their debut album drew nation attention and landed them tours with NOFX, Sum 41, Pennywise, and Social Distortion. To date, they are touring college towns with NOFX and Alkaline Trio under the anti-Bush flag of Punkvoter.com.
Andiamo begins with soaked hardcore drummer Jim Wilcox driving tracks like “Painted Windows” and “Revolution,” and frontman Jason DeVore belting grainy vocals on the aforementioned tracks in a style which can only be equated to Bad Religion’s wails. Bill Marck’s economical guitar riffs and vocal harmonization are featured in the slightly softer “Find Your Way.” Our sanity is then preserved by bassist Jeremy Wood’s melodic lines in “Madman,” which mixes up funk beats and rhythm guitar with muscular punk chords.
The reminiscent “Taking On the World” hits with a sharp ’77 style that makes you think back to Social Distortion, while dubby reggae in “Retreat” intersects with wiry ska-core and bleary-eyed surf guitar. In just two minutes, the double-time “Society’s Sequences” repeats the most concentrated number of four-chord progressions since Minor Threat. It also includes an intro featuring a 1996 original LoFi recording of the song, revealing the band’s meager three mics in a garage start. Authority Zero show they have the Dead Kennedys’ velocity as “1000 Years Of War” builds momentum and ends in a screaming rampage, which then leads into the turntable and percussion skills of Sublime’s “Field Marshall” Goodman on a cover of the Wall of Voodoo classic, “Mexican Radio.” Marshall also mixes a reading of the Bill of Rights into “PCH-82” -- an abbreviation for “Pacific Coast Highway - 82 beats per minute” -- later in the album.
The surf guitar continues, and Authority Zero interludes into “Chile Con Crudo,” which sounds like Green Day’s “Last Ride In.” Winding up the album, “Solitude” revisits the Sublime/Long Beach Dub AllStars connection while featuring a bleeding 80’s metal guitar riff, and “Siempre Loco” features a 49-second speed-vocal track in Spanish. Authority Zero concludes the album with a live recording of the boisterous Irish folk song “Rattlin’ Bog” which is a must hear track. (Remember that song from summer camp? “Oh ho the rattlin’ bog, the bog down in the valley-o”...)
So andiamo and buy this album. With little to no radio play, Authority Zero are taking punk rock by storm and giving many different genres’ scenesters a healthy musical spin. As Marcks says, “The borders are starting to get blurred, there are more influences involved... Good music is universal -- anyone can dig it..”