Album Review: Out of System Transfer – “Junkyard Golem”

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Listening to an MP3 of Out of System Transfer’s newest record Junkyard Golem has to be somewhat like trying to hook a rotary dial phone up to a wireless router, it’s just not compatible. Frontman Jesse Sternberg really was born about 80 years too late for his favored musical aesthetic. His voice is one meant for tin can microphones, the sides of dusty roads, old-timey dance halls, not be crudely emanating from a smartphone music app.

That being said, purchase the MP3 so hopefully, the band can make a vinyl happen.

The record is a raise of the fist for protest punk and an easily moshible Hodge podge of folk-punk influences. At times it’s easy to hear Out Of System Transfer;s affinity for Ghost Mice and at other times if you listen closely enough you can hear Pat The Bunny shining through. But all throughout the 15-track album Sternberg;s passion for traditional folk tunes holds it all together.

While a lot of the more notable folk punk acts are starting to lean a little more punk and a little less folk Out of System Transfer is making a hard move in the opposite direction. Their sound is grounded in an era of folk punkery that didn’t include an electric guitar. Of course there are plenty of oogles nationwide driving around in broke down vans and strumming on their washtub bases but not many of them are bringing the level of talent to their songwriting that OOST are.

The record is so much more than a folky fuck you to “the man.” It’s a piece of art orchestrated by a musician with an ear for the dulcet tones of folk and heart based steadfastly in punk. Their folk cover of C.R.A.S.S;s “Well, Do they” is one of the strongest tunes on the record and by no fault of Sternberg’s songwriting. It’s just that the group quite obviously jelled around a classic punk tune that relied more on their attitude of play than individual talent.

I have been fond of saying “folk is thTransfer may exhibit that better than most.

Often times the songs themselves are about struggle and sorrow but that doesn’t mean they can’t sound great, make you happy, and be totally danceable. Junkyard Golem is barnstormer of a record just like the band that released it and it’s honestly quite hard to believe that music like that is still being made in a huge modern city like New York. But following the folksteps of artists like Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, Out Of System Transfer is putting the tales of woe in the North East to music commonly associated with the South West.

So often in folk-punk the talent is put in the backseat in favor of raw emotion, it’s refreshing to see an act putting out quality songs while still maintaining a real sense of authenticity with the genre.

3.5/5 Stars 

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