I really miss punk bands like NOFX and Pennywise from the ‘90s. In a time when pop punk is the prominent form of mainstream punk I miss the fast BPM’s, insane drumming and overall feeling I got from these bands. It was refreshing when I listened to The Storm by LADDERLAD. The album was varied in style but there were a number of songs that made me break out my old NOFX albums.
Even though LADDERLAD sounds like a three- or four-piece band it is in fact one guy simply named The Lad. The first thing I noticed about The Storm was the production. It was notable and I especially enjoyed the guitar tone. To my surprise LADDERLAD is a complete DIY effort that doesn’t suffer from a lot of the common symptoms you might expect from a self-produced release. On top of that the album has consistently solid songwriting and singing.
The album bursts out of the gates with “Nothing You Can Do” which revolves around intense drumming, distorted guitar riffs and occasionally funky bass riffs. It’s a four-plus adrenaline burst where The Lad sings about his solitary quest for experience. He sings, “ I will not / Ever sell my soul / For a paycheck / A counterfeit paycheck / Gonna ride this horse until I die / And I'm forming my own path / I'm cleaning up my own wreck.”
The next track “Lisa Marie” has that classic ‘90's punk style I was referring to earlier. Fifteen years ago this song may have been on the Tony Hawk soundtrack for his video game. It’s a solid tune where The Lad delivers one of his best vocal performances. One of the other highlights was “You Say” which has an engaging bass line while “Call Me The King” is an anthemic song with effective vocal harmonies that sound like five people singing at once. “Long Lost” was another song that benefits from cascading vocal parts and inventive guitar work.
The Storm is a solid ten-song album with no filler. The songs are girth-y with lots of changes so the album never drags. Overall, there is some well-written songs that while not reinventing the wheel by any means are a long over due tip of the hat to ‘90s punk. Hopefully The Lad can find other members because this type of music begs to be played live.
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