59 Times the Pain

Calling the Public

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This Swedish quartet have established themselves as one of the hardest rocking punk bands around. In a scene mostly divided between speedy hardcore and melodic punk, 59 Times the Pain have taken a unique stance, creating a sound that's straight-ahead punk rock, but with strong melodies packing plenty of punch. The group's influences are an intriguing mix of late-'70s/early-'80s N.Y. hardcore, the Clash, and the tougher new schoolers like Rancid, Pennywise, et al. But even when they're wearing their influences on their sleeves, the group retain a distinctive sound all their own. The driving "Class Action," for instance, borrows liberally from the Clash's "Capitol Radio," but boasting a fuller sound and vocals that owe nothing to the Brits. Elsewhere they marry NY hardcore to Clashesque harmonies, and at one point even merge the Stooges with the Misfits. There's even a bit of ska and reggae thrown in for good measure. Like Rancid, the band may show their influences, but still handle them with aplomb and always mix them up. Thematically, too, the group are firmly in new school territory with salient statements on the state of the world, bolstered by some personal experience and a generally upbeat message. This is the group's fourth album, but their first for Epitaph, who, alongside Fat Wreck Chords, are picking up for U.S. release the best of Burning Heart, Sweden's answer to both labels. In this case, 59 times the pain is 100 times the pleasure.

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