I’m a child of the 90’s and as a result my punk rock roots are, like many others, in the So-Cal, skate punk era that saw the rise of what is now referred to as the Epi-Fat sound. Skate punk in the modern day has fleeting moments of brilliance but it’s somewhat fading…fast. This isn’t to say that there aren’t bands out there doing it and doing it well. Finnish band, Part Time Killer is a perfect example of a band still doing the punk scene proud. The band rose from the ashes of Flippin’ Beans and there have been a constant flow of releases since the band’s inception. A 7 inch, a 3 way split and now a full-length is a release schedule that would put some of their bigger contemporaries to shame.
Their first full length People. Religion. Death. continues down the same road as the band’s previous efforts with more vigour and passion than I thought was ever possible. It’s not that “Fuck The World” was lacking in ferocity, but the full-length definitely takes it to the next level.
Opener, “Heartbreaking Music” is not a Lagwagon cover like most would think but it does give an insight to a band that tours hard, produces music constantly but fails to reap the rewards from a scene that continues to take. “Another amazing town, another amazing crowd, another amazing song but no one sings along. And it’s breaking my heart. This is heartbreaking music,” is a particular stand out lyric if only for the fact that I want to yell it back to them at a show to let them know this is amazing music.
Back to the music. The album is fast-paced from the minute it starts to the second it ends. The album is heavy on gang vocals, evident in “15 Minutes of Fame” and “Teenage Riot” which bust out the whoas in the most appropriate places. The simple three chord guitar ethos of skate punk bands gone by is employed here but with a structured attack that many modern day bands are missing and “Weight of the World” is a prime example of this.
“Anti-Everything” could almost be a lyrical spit against Gen Y but mainly focuses on faith yet it has that melodic hook which will ensure a crowd singing along to every word. “Your Life Story” was included on the “Fuck the World” 7 inch but the album version features Sammi from Finnish hardcore band, St. Hood whose gritty vocals add an unexpected element, anger.
Lyrically the album covers issues plaguing modern day society, as outlined in the album title, it meanders through topics of people, religion and death. Not always glamorous topics but important nonetheless. It’s extremely political in some views without being overly preachy, a shining testament to the song writing ability of the band. “Freedom Fight?” is one that addresses war, an issue which many of us are now so conditioned to that we’re almost blind to it.
The strength in this album is that it never attempts to be something that it’s not. There are no over-the-top, wanky breakdowns, there are no slow numbers; there is not a single song in the album that doesn’t fit with the overall picture of the band. The album is solid, passionate, and furious without being overtly technical. If most bands did simplicity as well as PTK then punk rock would be a better place. Part Time Killer are doing skate punk in 2011 the way it should have always been done…well.