The So So Glos

The Blowout

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The vast majority of punk bands influenced by the Clash seem grimly determined to show how much they can sound like Joe Strummer, but the So So Glos are one of the few who have embraced the wisdom of Mick Jones. While Strummer gave the Clash sweat and passionate commitment, Jones was the one who broadened their sonic palette and added the tuneful polish to London Calling and Sandinista!, and on their third full-length album, Blowout, the So So Glos add a solid dose of pop to their rabble-rousing punk anthems in the grand Jones tradition. On tunes like "Son of an American," "House of Glass," and "Wrecking Ball," the band can deliver ferocious, straight-up punk rock with an old-school flavor and plenty of smirking attitude, but the ska-influenced breakdown on the title track would bring a smile to Joe and Mick's lips, and the clever pop moves of "All of the Time," "Dizzy," and "Everything Revival" show these guys have more tricks up their sleeve than just pummeling their guitars. It sure doesn't hurt that the band -- Ryan Zarou Levine and Matt Elkin on guitars, Alex Zarou Levine on bass, and Zach Staggers on drums -- can also deliver A-1 harmonies, and along with melodies that pack a tasty punch, the group write lyrics that deal with life in their hometown of New York City with nervy smarts and muscular wit. The So So Glos aren't quite reinventing the wheel on Blowout, but they clearly have chops, brains, and ambition that put most current punk bands to shame, and the results are good, rollicking fun that even has something to say on occasion, not unlike another band that mattered years ago.

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