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Everyone knows Good Riddance. For those who don’t- and you call yourself punk!?- here’s a quick history of the band:
Good Riddance were a 4-piece from Santa Cruz, CA, that played fast, melodic punk, heavily influenced by the late 70s-80s hardcore scene. From 1986 to 2007, they released 6 full length albums (all on Fat Wreck), 3 EPs, 6 Split EPs, a self-released demo, a covers album and a live album (of their last ever gig in ’07).
And now, three years after they called it a day, they’re releasing “Capricorn One”, a 21 track mix of singles, rarities, B-Sides and unreleased tracks.
The opener, ‘Stand’ (originally on Fat Wreck Vol. 3: Physical Fatness Comp), starts off the purely eminent melodic punk perfectly. It’s clear this album is going to be 21 reasons to miss Good Riddance.
Track two ‘Class War 2000’ is heavier, and like many of the songs on this album, the hardcore influences are pretty obvious.
The long, complicated intro to the old school hardcore infused ‘Tragic Kingdom’ displays the bands instrumental talents, something that can be overlooked with them having such an influential frontman. There’s also an intense bass riff in there too, to tantalize all you 4 string aficionados.
There’s a couple of love songs on this record, for all you romantic types; ‘Always’ with it’s hint of Pennywise, proof that love songs don’t have to be cheesey, and ‘Remember When’, a catchy, cute, proper punk song about a girl- different to everything else on the album, but still brilliantly crafted, showing there’s no end to Good Riddance’s talents.
The varying hardcore influences separate the majority of the tracks into two halves; East and West Coast, both executed flawlessly by Russ and his multiple vocal talent.
’21 Guns’ and ‘What We Have’, amongst others, are East Coast style, heavy, fast, hardcore infused anger driven hits.
Very few bands can get pull off a track that’s less than a minute long, and still have an impact- GR’s ‘Overcoming Learned Behavior’ (30 secs) does it just as well as Agnostic Front’s ‘Victim In Pain’, in even less time too.
The West Coast/ California Hardcore comes out in ‘More Time’, ‘Free’, ‘Great Experiment’ and ‘Last Believer’. There’s a taste of Bad Religion with each politically exasperated bite.
Track 13, ‘Little Man’ is simple, fast, heavy punk rock, played exactly how it should be- take note bands of today, you could learn a lot from GR.
‘Patriarch’, is more rock than punk, with a long, soaring intro, it’s a lot darker than anything else on the CD, but they still pull it off beautifully.
Even though there’s 21 tracks, the full album is only 44 minutes long. Jam packed in are the short, sharp shocks of danceable melodic punk. Something everyone can have a good time to, as well as relate to, from the social politics, to the personal alienation. There’s so much diversity, lyrically and instrumentally, without them swaying from their true genre. Flawless, never gets boring, punk rock, exactly how it should be. It’s such a shame they’re gone- but they certainly will never be forgotten. There’ll never be enough good bands like this, that’s why Good Riddance should always have a place in your tartan covered, pyramid studded heart.