Audio Reviews
Hate the Neighbours
by Brat Pack
Crucial Attack Records (2008)
Hate the Neighbours
9 / 10
One of the hardest things about being on tour is having to deal with the countless terrible opening bands so it can really be a wonderful thing when sitting at the merch table and music you actually enjoy and think is really good starts blasting out from the stage area. Such was the case when I first heard Brat Pack in a university squat in Mainz, Germany this past September. Every band was pretty much great that night but Brat Pack stood out with their high energy punk rock with just the right doses of hooks and melody. I made my way up front and stood there with a big smile on my face for the entire set. Naturally, as soon as the set was done I made my way to their van where they were selling their wares and picked up a copy of their LP, "Hate the Neighbours".

I got home from tour a few weeks later and finally started sifting through the pile of records I had bought in Europe. I didn't get very far though because this LP was towards the top of the pile and it hasn't really left my turntable since. I can't stop flipping this thing over and playing it again and again. It's a great mix of throwback 80s US hardcore and modern fast melodic punk rock. If I had to make comparisons the names Circle Jerks, early Bad Religion, the Dwarves, RKL, Angry Samoans, Career Suicide, and even Strike Anywhere would all probably come up. These Dutch lads have pretty much all I could want in a punk record: fast and catchy tunes with good hooks and smart lyrics pointing out the hypocrisies and ignorance of the world around us. The opening track, "Sick Burn", is probably the most humble song you'll ever hear from a band like this, and humble isn't generally a word found when discussing this music. The song is about understanding that you must be willing to take as much shit as we're dishing out. "Hate the Neighbours", "Xenophobe", and "See If We Care" deal with the troubling rise of nationalism and blind ignorance towards immigrants and minorities. "Observations", "Better Off Dead", and "Soft Money" sound like they could be Americans singing about our modern dealings with military occupation and the relationships between politicians and global corporations. It's sad to think the same things are going on half way across the world. It's really difficult to wrap up this kind of social commentary without coming off as trite and boring, but Brat Pack do it quite well. Let's hope they make their way to our American shores in the near future.
Posted by: Mike Riley

Audio Reviews (October 11th, 2008)