The So So Glos – Blowout (Album Review)

Made up of brothers Alex and Ryan Levine, their step-brother Zach Staggers and honorary fourth brother Matt Elkins, Brooklyn punk band, The So So Glos, was first created way back in 1991, in the basement of their childhood home.

They released their debut self-titled album in 2007, and this year marks the release of their second full-length release, ‘Blowout’. Despite being in talks with a number of labels about releasing the album, they decided to “do it old school”, and put the record out independently. Recorded in a Philadelphia studio over just 20 days, the guys feel that they have now truly cemented their sound and discovered who they are as a band. They claim that ‘Blowout’ is fully representative of what they’re all about.

Influenced as much by classic British punk bands as by their American punk heroes, they consumed the music of the likes of Nirvana, the Clash and the Ramones from a young age. In fact, ‘Blowout’ starts and ends with a recording of the Levine brothers discussing and re-enacting a Nirvana track as young children; showing that, not only have they not forgotten their basement roots, but that they understand how, even back then, what they did moulded what The So So Glos are today.

Within their upbeat and catchy pop-punk, they claim that they aren’t a political band, but they certainly have a lot to say on a social level. Bassist Alex Lavine says of the album; “It’s about the modern world driving an individual, or a group of individuals, insane. It’s about overexposure to everything, over-consumption, over-saturation. It’s overload. And non-communication. It’s everything loud and in your face, but it’s also isolation. You’re in this world of over-saturation but you’re isolated.”

But they’re not a band that simply stand back and comment on society, they’re in there making a difference, and paying it forward. A DIY space on the edge of Williamsburg, Brooklyn serves as the base for a community of independent bands of all-ages, where the rising upstarts can find their feet and move on, where they’re nurtured, supported and encouraged. Co-founded by The So So Glos themselves, it is named after the the now-demolished Shea Stadium of the New York Mets baseball team, which also gives name to their independent label; Shea Stadium Records.

The album is pure energy from start to finish, cycling quickly through the various punk and rock n roll sub-genres that have influenced it, while throwing in a good dose of modern pop beats. It has a cohesion to it, a pureness of intention, with all of them pushing in the same direction. The So So Glos knew where they were headed with ‘Blowout’, and they achieved it with flare and exuberance; speaking for a new generation while still echoing the voices of their predecessors.

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