By Rob Halloran
Chicago is having a field day with local talent being way too good for the garage. Adam and The Kreutzer Sonata don’t miss a beat with The Gutters of Paradise; fifteen tracks of conventional punk that kick a ton of ass without kissing their own.
The guitars and the bass glaze over each other to make a boomy, impeding riffing experience that you can definitely hear. The note definition is fantastic.
The drumming is hardcore punk 101, and it’s a damn good thing that the mics pick it up very nicely.
Cheating the D-beat is gonna get you points off with me, but it doesn’t ruin a thing about these amazing songs. Final word on the drums: stellar, and one of the best mixes on a punk record from the city.
There’s a lot of skate-punk tendencies on this album, and the knowledge of each niche of punk utilized on this record seems very nuanced. “Pennsylvania” throws us my favorite skate-punk flavored tune on here. It’s slowed down with great octave guitar riffs that lead the mix with a punch. The vocals never let up.
“Schlitz Faced” offers a slower paced beatdown of a punk song. Its lyrics make you want to beat the crap out of a mosh pit of faceless punk bodies while you circle in an endless pit of dry beer stench.
The mix improves as the instrumentation improves on this record. Songs with less chaos flourish here because the players obviously record with more accuracy, and it’s rad to hear instant improvement like this on a punk record.
The closing moments of this thing are stellar.
“Old Glory” has some of the best lyrics on the entire record, and it manages to do this while being obviously politically charged.
“Lost at Night” offers up one last feelsy one, and boy is this thing a romp. It offers up a painful nostalgia, accompanied by somber instruments. It still holds up a skate-punk vibe, but obviously branches off punk in favor of storytelling and a song from the heart… and no, it is not one of those “up your own ass” feeler songs. This holds up just fine, and is a tasteful closer.
Before this record, I would have to say the UGLYBoNES records have had the best seal of quality in punk rock in Chicago. I’m glad others are finally stepping up to deliver high fidelity listens. I’m glad that this was a true piece of work worthy of the fans it will gain.
Listen to The Gutters of Paradise in its entirety below.
Locals Only‘s top track: “October Kids”