The members of Ensign play no-frills New Jersey hardcore. But the beauty of Love the Music, Hate the Kids is that it is a covers record, and the band chooses influential songs quite well, always applying a good mix of the original spirit of the tune with a post-Youth of Today ruckus. Highlights include the Replacements' "Kids Don't Follow" (done up East Coast punk style), Dag Nasty's "I've Heard" (which has a genuine D.C. sound), and Hüsker Dü's "In a Free Land." The two Descendents covers, the great "I'm Not a Loser" (on which they play the beginning of the superior, classic Stevenson tune "Bikeage" as the intro) and "Hurtin' Crue," are a far cry from the originals -- Ensign simply lacks the loose southern California delivery. And though everyone cringed at the casual homophobia on the Descendents' 1982 release, it has absolutely no place in 2003 on a covers record or not. The thing about Love the Music, Hate the Kids is that, more than anything, it inspires you to listen to the originals, which could have actually been the band's intention.
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AllMusic Review by Charles Spano