Punk rock is not at its peak. The Sex Pistols are all but a distant memory, and Johnny Rotten is still playing club shows and STILL releasing music under his band moniker Public Image Ltd (Who are they? Exactly). Most of the Ramones are deceased, and Marky Ramone is living brilliantly under handfuls of royalties and making appearances on late-night Fuse TV. The Clash album “Cut the Crap” still exists, and is still terrible. Punk rock is in an odd place. Where? It’s called the present.
In a weird way, it’s absolutely refreshing to hear a modern band following a punk rock ethos, while adding in a credible touch of modern rock sensibilities and playing off the classics of a bygone era. Sure, it isn’t superior to old-school punk rock, but it isn’t meant to be. ‘Locket Love’ derive from a foundation of garage punk, yet have enough swagger and “modern” sense to exist in their own established niche of quality and appeal.
‘Locket Love’ consists of Ronnie Bourne on guitar and vocals (not Jason Bourne’s sibling), A.J. Hickernell on guitar (Bourne’s Randy Rhoades), Brian “Doog” Houser on Bass, and Michael ‘Jopie’ Marion on drums.
These boys, fairly, offer quite a slew of musical influences, from Manchester Orchestra’s dramatic undertones, to Dinosaur Jr.’s simplistic thought endearing lyrical style. There is a heavy spoonful of punk rock from Alkaline Trio’s “Goddammit” album, and grunge rock’s lesser known step-sibling “Mudhoney” scattered about their material.
These influences ultimately result in a sound that is just as much ‘Black Keys/White Stripes’ garage rock, and classic punk rock. They reign from the great land of Northern Pennsylvania, where the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia is far enough away to be a dream, and the Pocono Mountains enlighten the entire state with their sheer size and glory. The Pennsylvania breeding ground preserves true garage rock energy, and on ‘Locket Love’s debut E.P, you see their mix of musical influences and their home swarming into a 7 track ode to rock and roll.
No song climbs over 4 minutes, which is perfect for any Ramones fan, but may keep the E.P. too slim for those who prefer Dream Theater over good old fashioned pop hooks.
‘Perfect Song’ is totally Weezer, with one of the best garage-rock hooks on the album. Though the title is weirdly pretentious, it’s an ear-worm worthy of any constant rotation. ‘Locket Love’ would be wise to slow down the pace a bit, and bring forward a straighter ballad. The closest they get is ‘Broken Voice,’ which closes the E.P. on a different tone, and with a sweeter hook than most of the songs preceding it.
Though the E.P ultimately seems to blend into one long song, their cache of talent and songwriting capabilities makes for a fun, upbeat, and enthralling listen in brief bursts of excitement. ‘Locket Love’s’ debut E.P., satirically named “My Minor Chords Matter”, released under White Collar Records, will animate any listener who thought good old punk rock wouldn’t work in the 21st century with the music industry a whole different beast than it was ever before. The punk culture may not be there, but the sound is intact, healthy, and engaging.
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