Most albums bearing the “Produced by J. Robbins” seal of approval sound like the kind of album you would expect to be released on deSoto or Dischord Records within the last five years. But don’t let that frame your assumptions about Paradise, the latest album by Philadelphia punk rockers Paint It Black. They’re more likely to bring back memories of Robbins’ days in Government Issue than Burning Airlines. Each song is a 90 second punk rock power surge that’s more concerned with pummeling you than challenging the conventions of rock music. Instead, it just charges forth, destroying everything in its path.
Paradise is about three minutes longer than its predecessor, CVA, and contains three fewer songs, which translates to an average of thirty more seconds per song, the longest of the set being “Panic” at a whopping 1:44. That said, this album doesn’t stick around long enough for you to grow tired of it. Blink, and half the album will pass you by. But that, however, isn’t necessarily a criticism. These are songs that are meant to be short, as four minutes of any one of these tracks will leave you limp and bruised.
The fourteen songs on Paint it Black harken back to the days of frontman Dan Yemin’s former bands, Lifetime and Kid Dynamite. These are quick-burning hardcore punk songs that are as stimulating to the mind as they are to the ribcage. Yemin takes on a plethora of topics like our country’s poor leadership (“Last call for the bloodsuckers, cheaters and parasites/You’ve been relieved of duty, so let’s call it a night“), war (“You’re mixing cocktails while we’re mixing concrete/Fortifying bunkers and preparing for the retreat“) and more about those leaders (“They want to re-write the history books, they want to turn back the clocks/just leave your hope at the ballot box“). Meanwhile the instrumental three-fourths of Paint it Black chug and pound away, occasionally playing an intriguing melody. But, of course, it’s mostly fleeting, as a pretty riff can only last so long until the mosh section begins.
Paradise is a throwback to the melodic hardcore of yore, despite the fact that these dudes already celebrated their 30th birthdays a few years ago. Paint It Black rock hard, but those expecting more epic and atmospheric hardcore like Isis should move on. There’s only room for in-your-face balls out power chords on Paint it Black’s stage.
The Explosion – Flash, Flash, Flash
Kid Dynamite – Shorter, Faster, Louder
Strike Anywhere – Exit English
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.