"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> POUR HABIT
"Got Your Back"
by James G. Carlson
What kind of unlikely spawn results from combining the social and political consciousness of Propagandhi with the metal riffage of Strung Out and the melodic West Coast punk of NOFX? The answer to that question became instantly clear the day I received Fat Wreck Chords' new release by Compton five-piece Pour Habit.
If there is one thing I can say about Pour Habit’s sound from listening to Got Your Back, it’s that it is definitely not a simple one. For starters, it takes its core genres and twists them up into thick, gnarly dreadlocks of sonic experimentation, with metal riffs, lightning chord work, masterful basslines, rapid and technical drumbeats, and soulful vocals. I also hear tell that their shows, while raucous and utterly drunken events, display a musical prowess not entirely common in the punk scene, as well as breakdancing – that’s right, breakdancing, like ‘80s films Breakin’ and Electric Boogaloo, only today’s take on the fluid street acrobatics of the hip-hip culture – and other entertaining antics.
For the most part, Pour Habit’s Got Your Back reminds me of the type of punk that drew me into the scene at some point between the early and mid ‘90s. Of all the bands I listened to at that time – some of whom I still listen to today, in fact – Pour Habit’s sound reminds me mostly of Strung Out. Back then, when I got my hands on Fat Wreck’s Survival of the Fattest comp, it wasn’t surprising to learn that Pantera is one of Strung Out’s influences, with their metal riffs, and with their slightly thrashy and yet melodic punk chord progressions and pummeling drumbeats. Similarly, it wouldn’t surprise me if Slayer turned out to be one of Pour Habit’s influences…or even more modern artists like Between the Buried and Me and Fear Before the March of Flames. But it’s not quite that simple, as I wouldn’t be surprised if Bob Marley was also an influence, considering a couple songs on Got Your Back, like “Party” and “Conscience Mind of Revelation,” which clearly go in dub and reggae directions. And there is even something about a song or two which brings to mind Bad Religion’s No Control period, specifically and especially “Head in the Clouds (Danny’s Song).”
Fat Mike (NOFX/Fat Wreck Chords) produced Pour Habit’s Got Your Back, and it certainly shows. His unique imprint is evident on pretty much all thirteen tracks. Only exceptional bands get that kind of attention for their studio recordings, as Fat Mike is one of the most seasoned and talented figures in the scene today, and the final version of Pour Habit's new album is undoubtedly better for his assistance and direction.
Pour Habit’s members are Chuck Green (vocals), Matt Hawkes (guitar), Colin Walsh (drums), Eric Walsh (guitar, vocals), and Steve Williams (bass, vocals). A very talented bunch with loads of chemistry, whose songs are both tight and original.
If you are one for those burning political songs, Got Your Back has you covered with songs like “Dead Soldier’s Bay,” “Heads of State,” and “Tomahawk.” And if you’re more into party tunes, they’ve got you covered there as well. Or…if you are looking for the sort of great songs that made the Fat Wreck label so great back in the ‘90s, Pour Habit’s Got Your Back won’t just fuel your nostalgia, it will take you there.
Pour Habit’s Got Your Back was officially released on April 12, 2011, on CD and vinyl and digital download formats. There were only a limited 330 on blue-colored vinyl, which sold out quickly and are no longer available. There are still some on black vinyl, however...while supplies last, anyway. CDs aren’t likely to run out any time soon, I imagine. And for you ultra-modern iPod-using kids out there, you can download all thirteen tracks or select individual songs to listen to through your little ear buds or whatever. Just go to the store section of Fat Wreck's website. By now I bet you can even pirate the album from a handful of sources on the worldwide web, since that’s sadly how things seem to go these days. But if you think you're more punk for pirating a copy, alas, you are mistaken; it's far more punk to support your favorite independent and underground bands and singer/songwriters by purchasing their albums. After all, that's how they keep doing what they do.
If like me you are waiting for Pour Habit to hit your local venue, it may take a little while, since their tour van was recently stolen a few weeks ago not far from their home in Long Beach. Be that as it may, I doubt it will be too terribly long before they're mobile again and doing their thing from city to city, town to town, and state to state.
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