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Music Review: Strung Out – Blackhawks Over Los Angeles

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One of the more recognized Californian punk rock bands out there, Strung Out, has just released Blackhawks Over Los Angeles. Known for being one of the first bands to sign to Fat Wreck Chords, Strung Out continues their path with the anti-everything corporate record label and has released this album with them once again. This is their seventh full release album to date.

Next to Bad Religion this is one of my most personal anticipated releases of the summer. I have waited a solid two years for Strung Out to crank out new material and I must say the wait is well worth it. They are more of a technical punk rock band as opposed to a lot of their label mates. Each of their songs sounds like they took their time creating it. They are almost sometimes more rock than punk on certain songs but all in all their approach is truly unique. If you were a fan of Exile In Oblivion then you are in for a treat.

From the second the CD started, my attention was captured. The country western introduction to “Calling,” the first single off the twelve track album, quickly changes tempo and out comes the Stung Out punk rock I have been craving. The dual guitar solos and the vocals make this one of my favorite cuts off this album.

“Party In The Hills” reminds me a lot of their previous release Exile In Oblivion with the guitar riffs and vocal style. I can easily see this song speaking of chilling out on the party scene getting a lot of play. Another track that I am already singing along to is “All The Nations” an almost celebration of the world and unity. Did I mention that I like the guitars a lot on this CD?

Looking at a different approach to political judgment, “A War Called Home” was an interesting song to listen to, especially the lyrics. More rock than punk at times, “Downtown” was a notable track as was the final track of the CD, “Diver.”

The evolution of punk rock these days makes me think that some bands try too hard or only do it for the money, not these guys. With the success of the Warped Tour, Hot Topic, and just the over all popularity of the word “punk”, I feel that the punk rock style has grown so much more than ever expected. Some folk say that punk is dead while others argue against them. I say screw them, I know what I like and if bands like Strung Out can keep putting albums out like Blackhawks Over Los Angeles then more power to them.

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