Not being as up on the U.S. punk scene as I was once, I always wondered what became of Doug Carrion, who once played bass in the last versions of both the Descendents and Dag Nasty. Well, here he is, playing in a California five-piece that attempts to bring back the sound of the old days. The sleeve notes list as inspiration some old, forgotten favorites such as Channel 3, M.I.A., T.S.O.L., and SSD, and the original days of such notables as Agent Orange, Gang of Four, Buzzcocks, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Bad Religion, and Social Distortion. Though Humble Gods can't really hold a candle to those bands -- they need to improve the songwriting -- they do bring back the spirit and verve of that period well, though with a minor metallic density like that of Dag Nasty, with a singer, Brad X, who sounds a lot like the Adolescents' Tony (Montana) Cadena. And the best material here certainly approaches such imperial heights, including two great choices for covers -- the Specials' "Concrete Jungle" (from 1980's The Specials; Humble Gods remove the ska from the original and make a punk-pop song out of it) and Love's "Little Red Book" (written by Burt Bacharach and also covered in the '60s by the Standells) -- plus the key original of the LP, "Religion." Now, these lyrics really bring back the humorous, barrier-busting, mind-expansion of punk's old days: "If Moses f*cked Allah inside of a mosque/If the Nation of Islam was run by a Jew/Protestants, Catholics, Mormons too/That's alright, that's OK/In the name of religion we can blow each other away." Since this was recorded before Rabin's assassination, we ask again: What in history has caused more murders and wars and bombings and hate and sorrow and misery than the very thing that is supposed to encourage love, organized religion?
Humble Gods Review
by Jack Rabid