Album Review: Davey Dynamite and Friends – “Holy Shit”

Holy Shit

It works in italics, and it works in quotations. Davey Dynamite did half the work for me when he named his latest album. We get a lot of emails at Dying Scene; small-time bands, big-time bands, and everything in between. It’s a privilege to have so many voices from across the world send you their art, it means the world to us, but it also means we get saturated sometimes. But, when we get something like Holy Shit, it makes it more than just a part of the punk-press machine. We get sent a lot of record. We get sent a lot of records we like. But Holy Shit is the kind of record we love.

Davey Dynamite has crafted an absolutely explosive record. More than anything, it feels punk rock in a time when punk rock has come to mean so many things it can be hard to put your finger on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is ‘77 throwback stuff, but it does have an unmistakable edge, an unbridled scrappiness that makes me think, in 2016: this is punk rock. The lyrics on Holy Shit are centered around politics and social commentary, and the things he does really well that makes these common themes transcend is frame them in anecdotes as it suits him, like in “Mowing At Grandma’s.” Other times, he’s content to scream proclamations in rousing crescendos, such as in “Rock and Roll,” where he boils down the DIY spirit in five words: “Let’s make this fucking matter!”

The sound on Holy Shit is the progeny of old folk punk gone electric bands like Against Me! as well as the throat-shredding punk rock of O Pioneers! If you listen closely, you can hear the folk punk skeletons, but they’ve been layered with electric muscle and tak-tak-tak drum beats that make these protest songs sound down right muscular. It’s the sheer energy of the musicianship that elevates the lyricism into something screamable, something that isn’t just a bought and sold commodity to listen to on a bus ride, but something you can believe in.

There’s a moment on “Man Enough*,” where Davey Dynamite attacks homophobia and bro-culture without ever denying his own involvement in propagating it in subtle ways, he brings it down with just chords and says, “I’ve been coward, but I can sing. Every time a kid uses a synonym of gay, a barrel of a gun gets closer to a brain.” It’s a call to arms for personal action, of looking at the way our words matter, of looking outside our own personal perspective. It’s a chilling moment, delivered earnestly.

Ultimately, what separates Holy Shit from the pack is its youthfulness. It’s packed with all the convictions we have when we’re young, and they’re held so tight to the chest, a big middle finger to the world and a “fuck off” on the lips. It’s us, before we made compromises.

5/5 Stars

Stream the entire album below and download it for free on bandcamp.

[bandcamp width=610 height=472 album=1485900446 size=large bgcol=333333 linkcol=e32c14 artwork=small]

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