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TSOL | Divided We Stand | review | punk | Lollipop
Divided We Stand (Nitro)
by Ewan Wadharmi
The Sounds of Liberty chorale group have been a mainstay of Jerry Falwell's Old Time Gospel Hour for decades. But in 1978, it was revealed that this group of Up With People wanna-bes were not who they claimed. That's when four innovators from Los Angeles introduced their "Up Yours, People" Goth-punk style as True Sounds of Liberty.
The last few exciting years have thrilled us crotchety old punks with new releases from The Damned, The Exploited, The Adicts, and Killing Joke. These resurrections have at least lived up to the fiery youthful works, and in some cases, exceeded them. With Divided We Stand, T.S.O.L has melded their metal tendencies into a controlled element of the snotty punk mix. The Goth creepiness as well has nicely settled into a smart-ass threat of droogy ultraviolence. The music has a natural drive that comes from inside you. By that I mean the boys are inside your body cavity, strumming and pounding on your digestive canals.
Original vocalist Jack Grisham reappeared for 2001's Disappear, and the honeymoon ain't over. His pipes are even more exciting and energetic this go-around. New drummer Billy Blaze is a powerful addition, battering his kit into submission. Snippets of The Damned and Bauhaus familiarity pepper the songs before being shredded by Ron Emory's searing rockabilly riffs. The leather is exchanged for velvet on "Loaded," which is only recognizable as T.S.O.L. due to its being stamped on the disc. The dark Britpop sounds like Pulp, but is still better than any song recorded during their Joe Wood glam years.
Fans of A.F.I. should know these guys were a major influence on Davey Havok. Everyone else, worry not. T.S.O.L. still has more balls and humor. And are obviously thrilled to be heroin and hairspray free.
(7071 Warner Ave. F-736 Huntington Beach, CA 92647)