Album Review: Great Lakes USA – “Live Fast, Die Whenever”

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Great Lakes USA, based in Boston, have a fun, trashy Pop-punk sound in stark contrast to the retro Oi bands for which the area is mostly known.

The trio’s debut album, “Live Fast, Die Whenever”, features lots of warm, poppy hooks a la early Green Day but with a lot more thrash and grit. Billie Joe’s campy singing is replaced with vocalist/guitarist, Alex Heinz’s snotty growl. Heinz has a thick, shifty guitar sound and uses lots of heavy palm muting, but he can also turn on that melodic Ramones-style explosiveness and add some catchy solos when the band is going for a less abrasive sound on standout tracks such as Grown Up Stuff and LF, DW. Heinz’s unrefined, strained vocals follow suit on said tracks as he eases up on the gears and adds some softness and tone to his voice.

Pete Hoffman’s bass playing is straight up badass: lumbering, unrelenting bass lines with a metallic, raunchy tone. With his Mid EQ turned up to 11, his bass pierces the overall mix and shares equal footing with Heinz’s six-string.

Great Lakes USA is one of those rare punk bands that have a really good mix of Pop flavor and Hardcore rawness in its sound without leaning too far in one direction. Even when Heinz’s is screaming his guts out the music still sounds melodic and yet very dirty. Explosive, hook-laden & just fun.


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