It seemed that after the inauguration of Barack Obama, many of those in the punk community took a step back in vocalizing their disgust for the American political system. Los Angeles-based punk rock outfit Total Chaos, however, show no signs of backing down from speaking out about the troubles that still plague our country.
Featured on Battered and Smashed is Total Chaos’s signature mix of punk rock and hardcore that they have been producing for 20-plus years. While Battered and Smashed is full of political commentary, such as on the tracks “Wake Up America” and “Political Recession,” the album also features more fun-filled and lighthearted tunes, including the singalong opening cut “Hooligan’s Holiday,” as well as “Do The Tony.”
Musically, the album is pretty straightforward in delivery. The band’s rowdy and raucous style adheres to the traditional hardcore punk sound, but adds stellar guitar work by way of some blistering solos featured throughout the album.
Just past the halfway point in Battered and Smashed is a surprise in the form of the song “Going Down,” which is reminiscent of Sublime with its mix of a laid-back ska guitar riff and beat with a blistering, up-tempo punk rock chorus. The guitar breakdown mid-song sounds very much in the vein of Brad Nowell, and by featuring lyrics about drug addiction and abuse, I definitely think this was a nod toward the Long Beach band.
Battered and Smashed has its share of good tracks but I found some cuts were too repetitive in lyric and song structure. Even with its repetitiveness, the album stays true to Total Chaos’s brand of punk rock – especially when it comes to the political and social content of the lyrics.
(Stomp Records, 1223 Blvd. Saint-Laurent, Suite 305, Montreal, QC H2X 2S6 Canada)