98 Mute

Slow Motion Riot

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Since the 1970s, punk rock has been full of anger, angst, and aggression, and with some punk bands, you get a heavy dose of pessimism, hostility, and nihilism as well. But you won't find Los Angeles punk band 98 Mute wallowing in pessimism or negativity on Slow Motion Riot, which is one of the strongest punk releases of 2000. While the songs are loud, forceful, and in-your-face, lead singer Pat Ivie doesn't use his aggression to tell you how dysfunctional he is or how much he thinks that life sucks. Quite the contrary -- Slow Motion Riot is one of punk's more optimistic CDs. This isn't to say that 98 Mute are a bunch of Polyannas or that the band is afraid to tackle gritty subject matter; "Send in the Clowns" (not to be confused with the Stephen Sondheim piece) is a blistering attack on white supremacists, and other songs address such topics as urban violence and government corruption. But overall, Slow Motion Riot is characterized by its optimism. On gems like "It's Your Move" and "You Can't Lose," Ivie belts out some of the most motivational lyrics you will hear short of an Earth, Wind & Fire song. But 98 Mute doesn't sound anything like EWF -- Slow Motion Riot is pure, undiluted punk, and musically, the band recalls such Angelinos as Black Flag, Wasted Youth, and the Circle Jerks. This is an album that punk fans should not overlook.

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