13 songs. 35 minutes.
That’s exactly how long the new album from The Good The Bad And The Zugly, (GBZ), Algorithm & Blues, will assault and batter your senses. In simple terms it’s everything that you’d expect from the band by now and then some.
GBZ’s 4th album is a bombastic display of Punk Rock aggression and hard-hitting anger, that would make 1980’s Seattle proud. But that’s not to say that there isn’t the odd curveball thrown in for good measure. The intro to opening track ‘Welcome To The Great Indoors’ will give even the most anti-mainstream hardcore Punk fan, all of the AC/DC ‘Thunderstruck’-type feels. There’s also the unexpected and yet glorious smoothness that is the hook to ‘Staying With The Trouble.’ Surprising yet delightful in equal measure.
That’s not to say however, that everything is plain sailing, the middle third of this album is somewhat problematic. All of the songs are completely interchangeable. Each one blends seamlessly into the next and before long you’re left wondering which song is which. For all that the riffs thunder, and the vocals scream, they become completely indistinguishable from each other. For something so loud it’s quite the feat that it can lose your attention so quickly.
Although, as in many areas of life, there is a lot to be said for a strong finish. And just before things tail disappointingly off into mediocrity that’s precisely what GBZ deliver.
The band love a cracking intro and they hit the fence once more on ‘What Have You Done For Me Lately.’ And this time the whole track takes the lead from the intro, switching from swaggering to frantic, resulting in what is comfortably the best song on the album. ‘The Kids Are Alt-Right’ is as provocative and politically charged as you’d expect, while the band’s out of the blue N.W.A. homage ‘Fuck The Police’ is a late eye-catching addition.
The thing that elevates this album from being just another Punk album is the same thing which elevates GBZ from being just another a Punk band. The musicianship is clearly of a seriously high standard. This isn’t all energy and no skill, and the way that the band scatter guitar solos all over this album like it’s nothing is testament to that. It also gives the band’s overall sound that little something extra.
Lesser albums wouldn’t have been able to recover from that sag in the middle, but like a prize fighter Algorithm & Blues just doesn’t know when it’s beaten. There’s so much quality at the beginning and end of the record, that it manages to overpower the weaker sections. To continue the boxing analogy, it’s often not how you start the round, but how you finish it, that catches the judge’s attention and that’s exactly what happens here. A solid start, the foot comes off the gas in the middle, but a stunning finish ensures that the band wins over the listeners hearts and gets the decision in the end.
And your winner, and still Punk champions of the world, The Good, The Bad And The Zugly.