Folks, I am full-on crushing on Dr. Daniel Mathias Jebediah Yemin. Obviously, living so close to
I finally got back in the PiB game last week when I picked up Amnesia, and it does not disappoint. It’s a little retro for the band by default, since it lacks New Lexicon’s experimental hip-hop/electronic edges. But given that the seven-inch idea was meant to honor hardcore’s past, retro is fitting. Fans get five blistering, rage-tastic tunes on white wax. Opener “
Amnesia cycles through five songs in less than 10 minutes. Surrender does four in less than seven. Opener “Sacred” is the closest the band has come to writing a Kid Dynamite-style song, featuring fast-as-frick hardcore/punk with a bit of melody, plus a bass solo to break things up a bit. But any possibility that Surrender was tailor-made to feature poppier songs for Fat Wreck is quickly dispelled by the other A-side song, “
The B-side switches gears again, as the 46-second “Cipher” amps the BPMs back up. Paint It Black has always venerated hardcore’s roots while simultaneously adding forward-thinking elements musically, and that applies to Surrender’s lyrics as well. “Sacred” skips nostalgia to focus on how far the narrator has come since his self-destructive days of youth, and “Cypher” takes a similar stance against the way things used to be, decrying “Fraudulent allegiances, cheap facades / Our father’s flags, our mother’s gods” before warning the old guard, “This could be the dawn of a brand new day / So get out of our way.” The title track ties the past (“No more shame for what’s underneath my skin / No more nostalgia for the face I wore when I was young”), present (“We try to decipher the truth from the lie/ There were bolder lines in those analog times”), and future (“And I think I know what you’re wishing / So I’m renewing my vows / No more giving up, no more giving in”) together into a mantra self-determination. “Surrender” is about anything but.
Surrender brings PiB’s 2009 track count up to nine, almost a full-length’s worth. While Surrender and Amnesia were conceived from a place of modesty – “We can’t think of a single hardcore punk band that has released more than three awesome full-length records, and we’re not nearly arrogant enough to imagine that we’ll be the first band to make that happen,” quoth the members – it’s clear that Paint It Black is still one of the strongest, boldest hardcore bands out there today.
And they copy the Smiths’ billing (“Dan Yemin: Voice, Andy Nelson: The Bass Guitar,” and so on and so forth) in the liner notes, which I totally geeked out over.