Agents of The Underground (Fat)
by Scott Hefflon
Seven records and 15 years into this racket, Strung Out long ago perfected their craft, and fans will be glad to hear Strung Out crank out yet more tight as hell punk pop rampage, like early Propagandhi and Bad Religion and Lagwagon, and anyone else in the late-’90s ya liked. While some went acoustic or singer/songwriter, Strung Out still layer the harmonies thick, play fast and tight, the breakdowns come exactly when you expect them, and your head will nod in appreciation. I’ll yet again reference their perfect cover of Ozzy’s “Bark at the Moon,” simply cuz most punk bands covering metal (or most anything beyond their ability, which is almost anything besides punk) is terrible, and that cover ruled. It was faster than the original, and made NOFX’s double bass and palm-muted metallic-punk charges seem lethargic in comparison. Produced by Cameron Webb, Agents of The Underground sounds great (as all their releases have), and it’s got the depth of roar mixed with the thumpa-thumpa of the punk pop glory days. Admittedly, it’s pretty samey from end to end, but when you’re on a roll, why fuck up the flow with a reggae dub industrial death metal mambo, just to show you’re all diverse and shit? Do what you do best, and fast, melodic punk is what Strung Out do best. Here are 11 new songs to play very, very loud.