Allegra (Sub City/Hopeless)
by Tim Den
I’m glad that new interest is building in Fifteen, now that they’ve decided to make a comeback and teach the rest of the world what punk rock is supposed to be about: both musically and spiritually. Playing their songs with equal doses of who-gives-a-shit rawness and heart-wrenching melodies, Fifteen is about as perfect as punk rock comes. None of that polished “pop played fast” stuff nor the “we’re so punk we have no idea what we’re playing” here. Instead, the best characteristics that both offer. It’s low-down and dirty, it’s sugar on your sing-alongs… a combo no other band has been able to pull off. Lyrically, Fifteen is so honest they could put Rollins out of business. They champion righteous causes (domestic abuse shelters, drug rehabilitation programs, counseling the young, needle cleaning information), they fill huge sections of their inlay with helpful hints to the needy (in English and Spanish!), and they do it all with such passion that you never doubt how much they want to improve the world. They’re not condescending about it either, no “I have the answer to society’s pitfalls.” Just musicians who’ve obviously been through some of the discussed issues personally and have seen enough horrors to sympathize with those who didn’t make it. They are (or seem) like loving people who honestly want to help, and they’re using 100% of their creative output to do so. The rest of the punk rock world should be ashamed of themselves.