By Mike Delano
I don’t know what it is about punk bands – maybe their restless spirit and all – but they never seem to wanna be where they are. Whether it’s Rancid pining for the West Coast on “Olympia, WA” or Banner Pilot looking to escape from under mounds of Midwestern snow on “Alchemy,” everyone is looking for a way out. And so it is for Ramona, California’s Squarecrow, who kick off their recent release Rammi Jamms with “Sarasota,” a eulogy for a relationship killed by the lure of the unknown. “This broken road displayed is where I need to go,” they sing (“they” being guitarist Todd Allen and bassist Kevin White, who share vocal duties), and it’s not the only time the album talks of leaving and its consequences. Leaving usually means leaving someone behind, so “20/20” asks “And when you’re on your own, do you think of me/with bruises on my face and crooked teeth?” By the end, the album is at its most raw, as the refrain of “don’t go” on “Old Julian” crashes into the bass, drums and guitar to create a mournful howl. Squarecrow sounds focused and energized throughout Rammi Jamms, and they even throw in a snarled, skank-worthy take on The Smiths’ immortal “Bigmouth Strikes Again,” which fits right in with the overall feeling that even though your personal life is in flames, that doesn’t mean you can’t channel your experience into some beautiful, inspiring art.