reviewed by Christopher Connal | Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Classics Of LoveClassics of Love consist of the California band Hard Girls (with Mike Huguenor on guitar, Morgan Herrell on bass, and Max Feshbach on drums), fronted by Jesse Michaels, the man behind Operation Ivy and Common Rider. When I think about Operation Ivy — which is far too much for a healthy and/or normal person — I often marvel that they have consistently remained popular with young people. This is not just because of the great sound of the band, but largely due to the raw energy of Michaels’ vocals and the sincerity of his words. He’s gone on to do many things in his life after Operation Ivy of course, but with each band and album, the sense of urgency and hope, as he put it, remains.

Classics of Love’s eponymous album is their first full-length, and their follow-up to the 2009 EP Walking in Shadows. The new album hits the ground running, from the first flash of feedback and rapid fire of snare drum on the opening track, “What a Shame,” to the classic ska-punk sound of “Castle in the Sky,” and the ’80s hardcore feel of “World of the Know.” As the music blasts through song after song, Michaels’ observations ring in your ear: “Life is a game where you see who can make the most money/Life is a game where you see who can get the most power” from “Stronghold,” or “Cut down from those heights/we’re here to reject you,” from “Would-Be Kings,” which envisions the rejection of those with the money and the power.

If you are looking for a high-energy album to get you through this warm winter then you are in luck. The 13 tracks clock in at 22-and-a-half minutes. Click here to listen to “Dissolve.”

(Asian Man Records, PO Box 35585, Monte Sereno, CA 95030)

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