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Every now and then the west-coast of Australia spits out some incredible music. Perth in particular has been the breeding ground of many notable Australian artists, punks or otherwise. In this case, four kids got together in a high-school music class and The Decline was born. If like me, you’re thinking that the band took their name from the title of the NOFX song, you’d be wrong. The gents themselves don’t even know where the name came from.
The band took themselves from Australia’s west coast in September 2009 to Blast Studios, Colorado to record their debut album. Legend Bill Stevenson (Black Flag, Descendents) and Jason Livermore were enlisted to produce the record which was also mixed and mastered at Blast Studios.
March 2010 saw them release their debut album, I’m Not Gonna Lie to You, and taking a leaf out of their books, I’m not going to either. They aren’t reinventing any wheels but they’ve put their own spin on it, for the better.
It seems as though these days you can put a word in front of punk, hyphenate it and BAM! You’ve got yourself a new genre. Sonic-punk being the most ridiculous example of this I’ve come across to date. Punk is dead. We’ve all heard it before and at points in time, believed it too. The thirteen tracks in I’m Not Gonna Lie to You are enough to restore faith in a genre lately slipping somewhere between commercial corruption and failure of integrity and honesty. I’m looking at you auto-tune.
Like many punk albums before it, it runs like a socio-political commentary, exploring issues including religion, refugees, homophobes, and scenesters to name a few. The album opener, Putain De Chaine Aliment, explodes without any form of regard to one’s ears. It’s short, it’s tight, it’s fast, and for those reasons, it’s a perfect way to open any politically charged punk-rock album. From here the album moves into I Killed the Trend Scene which manages to tear scenesters down a peg with an intense frenzy of guitar riffs and a blatant lyrical attack against Bring Me The Horizon.
Refujesus’ lyrical content is centred on the influx of refugees that arrive on boats to Australia each year and the nation’s response to and acceptance of these immigrants. Bassist, Daniel Cribb, drives the breakdown which takes a stab at the Australian population in full.
The vigour that pours from the speakers with the introduction of You Died…Losing 16 Experience Points is almost overpowering before the tempo drops away until increasing in increments until it peaks with the same force with which it began.
The dual vocals constantly swap between Pat Dolin’s spitfire velocity and Daniel’s more melodic pace. Oh, Fuck! is a perfect example with Daniel opening, in a slow base and drum tempo, before promptly swapping into Pat’s lyrical attack on religion and higher entities.
Conjunctivitis stands alone as the song that is delivered with a level of hope against the injustices that the rest of the record resists. Half A Beer is the album’s catchiest cut but that can be attributed to the series of ‘whoas’ that kick off the song before it transitions into short, sharp chord progressions, that are catchy enough to get stuck in one’s head for days.
As the record draws closes out, the pace slows with Sentience or Selfishness at which point you’d be forgiven for thinking the album will flow in this manner for the remaining two tracks. Untitled carries this through, beginning acoustically before kicking into a full band assault to finish.
Finally, the whole thing closes with Radio Friendly, despite being everything but its name, the song is an anthem for action. The conviction of its delivery is enough to make the listener feel regret and selfishness with enough remaining hope to make one actually get up and make a stand.
While the albums energy lapses somewhat toward the end, it doesn’t hurt the flow. The lull isn’t detrimental. Rather, it provides a breather and proves the band can write songs beyond run-of-the-mill, furiously expended political punk rock.
With their debut, these four gents have managed to deliver 13 high energy, melodic punk-rock tunes. The Decline are a shining example of the finer side of Australian punk rock today, kids should be taking notes off these guys. It will be worth keeping an eye on this band in the future while giving I’m Not Gonna Lie to You a thrashing in the present. If you don’t have the pleasure of owning the album, mosey on over to their MySpace page for proof.