Generation Genocide

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Street punk has always been about heart. Rancid, for example, despite their ascendancy to revivalist royalty, still bring the power-chord passion with admirable and unfakeable fervor. Jersey are no different. Returning from an extended hiatus, the Canuck quartet keep things nice and simple on Generation Genocide, their first for Universal. "This Town" and the title track are broken-dream ruminations set to raucous guitar leads; both offer inclusionary gang vocals as foils to Greg Taylor's jagged yell. Go ahead, sing along. Everyone else in the bar is. For a record so mercifully free of compressed production trickery, the plaintive keyboards that chime in for "Crossfire"'s verses are initially shocking. But it's just Jersey's softer side showing through, as the cut's chorus is as righteous and empowering as anything on Generation Genocide. It's right back to a muscular 1977 punk tumble for "One Way St.," and the Clash are a natural and welcome reference for the strong hooks and propulsive rhythms of "Old Bones and Dirty Coffins." Hard work, hard living, and hard lessons are Genocide's thematic avenues. They meet head-on for the heartfelt standout "Shop Floor," where Taylor is told in no uncertain terms by his foreman not to end up a casualty to the company store. "There's more to life, you've got much more to give/This is it for me -- don't end up in here." Its sentiment and sturdy beat suggest the traditionalist stomp of Dropkick Murphys, as opposed the once or twice-removed pop of the well-groomed mall punk army. Other highlights of Generation Genocide include "The Story of '53" and "Richmond Resurrection"; "City Streets" ends the record with a quick blast and more mention of the streets. Jersey haven't made anything listeners haven't heard before. But the hooks are strong and their hearts are in the right place, and that's more than many modern-day genre practitioners can claim.

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