OK so today we're back with some quality punk rock to review. We don't review much melodic punk here any more, but in this case we couldn't do otherwise cause Miran from Moonlee Records sent us two records that t o t a l l y deserve your attention. Read below and find out why this is some of the best European punk rock happening right now!
First up we got Debeli Precjednik (Fat Prezident), a band name which I'll never be able to pronounce. Nevertheless, this Croatian band is a force to be reckoned with in the eastern European punk rock scene, since they play some of the catchiest California-type melodycore that you'll get to hear. They've been going since 1994 and this is their 4th release. So in a way we're dealing with legends here.
Believe me when I say, this band has nothing less compared to the best melodic hardcore/punk rock in any scene, I mean musically this is up there with your Rise Against, your Satanic Surfers and your No Use For A Name. I could draw a bigger comparison especially with NUFAN, since Debeli Precjednik too has that overly emotional but also powerful approach to their songwriting.
These are songs that you're really gonna want to fuck shit up to, to skate to, to fall in love to... you get the deal, they are catchy as hell and they have a nice and pleasant, totally feelgood vibe. Just nice and tight punk rock hits with a crystal-clear production to back them up. I know that many hardcore kids out there get pissed off with this type of American Pie punk, but not me, since I grew up with shit like this (along with hardcore) -- back in the day it was OK to like both. But what am I talking about, kids these days like hipster black metal and Title Fight at the same time, so I guess it is worse now.
Summing up: this is a very good record of upbeat, super-melodic hardcore that goes down very smoothly. After song 8 I kind of get the feeling that this isn't an album that will change my life, but it's still good and something I could easily play again and again. Perhaps when the weather is better!
OK - XAXAXA must come from another planet or something; I mean on paper they are from Skopje, Macedonia, but how else can I explain this band's unbelievable talent in delivering punk music that shoots straight to the heart? This is really what these kids have achieved with their awesome Husker Du meets Leatherface brand of alternative punk. Chaotic yet melodic, their songs are wrapped with the sort of melancholic nostalgia and dry wit that can infiltrate your mind, and give you room to think and daydream.
Yes, punk was invented in order to be like this, life-affirming, revolutionary and self-explanatory through its uniqueness. XAXAXA must have really thought about music and punk rock, because they've done something that very few bands do nowadays: that's playing straight from the heart and inventing their own identity musically. Because yes, we can draw comparisons with the big names mentioned above (as well as a few others, i.e. Hard Ons perhaps, Dag Nasty, Hot Water Music), but this band has life of its own and plays a very unique style that doesn't imitate and can't be imitated. So yeah, don't go thinking that this is your everyday hipster wannabe mid tempo punk!
The production is simple and not too polished, that's totally OK cause XAXAXA bring the potent melodies one after the other, leaving you no room for criticism, only appraise. Quality songwriting with perfect verses, and choruses that are catchy without sounding cheesy or anything of the sort. The guitars are always distorted but not extremely heavy, and there is a minimal use of female vocals, a horn or a keyboard here and there, just enough to give the whole outcome an extra boost of melody and extra terrestrial coolness. The best thing about this record altogether is that its tunes have a sort of spontaneity that creeps in and grows on you--the stuff that makes all good records worthwhile.
I now feel bummed that I didn't go to see this band play when they played Athens a while ago. But at the same time I am glad I finally got turned on to them, and for this I gotta thank Miran. Music is my entire life, and these guys make me remember why :)