Humble Gods

No Heroes

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No heroes and no gods, no matter how humble? No Heroes makes me feel old. Not just because I remember guitarist Doug Carrion's days long ago in Descendents and Dag Nasty, but because those bands were infinitely better at this genre at a time when it was a hell of a lot newer and fresher (members of Doggy Style and Pennywise are also present). And for a second LP, this is true "running in place." It's not that the playing is bad; in fact, as befits such a veteran bunch, it's their strong point. A guitar style founded by the Agnew brothers in the Adolescents still has some half-life left in it, and the production is crisp. But the songwriting, though serviceable, never reaches the heights necessary to make you discount how "been there, done that" hardcore punk-pop was in the mid-'90s. Yawn yawn yawn -- and let's face it, covering Tom Petty's awful "American Girl" is not the antidote. And worse, singer Brad X strangles all hope of saving the melodies in a bad attempt to recreate the mangled mumblings of the late Darby Crash. His is a silly substitute of incoherence where the inspired soar of Carrion's old Descendents-mate Milo Auckerman is required to make a beaten old horse fly instead of die. I'll stick with my old heroes (and horses) in this style.

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