MAN ARMY – Rumors and Headlines (BYO
Records) If Green Day’s Billy Joe decided to pluck some band from
obscurity and take them under his pudgy pop/punk wing, what would they
sound like? You can probably make a pretty good guess as to the answer
and, if it strikes you as something that might be up your alley, then you
owe it to yourself to give One Man Army (who were, in fact,
“discovered” by Billy Joe and were the first release on Armstrong’s
Adeline Records) a listen.
On Rumors and Headlines (BYO), the group’s third album and the
second produced by punk rock go-to guy, Kevin Army (Operation Ivy, Green
Day, Mr. T Experience), One Man Army continue their formula of
working-class, so-old-it’s-new-again punk.
The album is soaked in the band’s collective influences to the
point where listening to the tracks is like sitting down to a few drinks
with a friend you’ve known since 6th grade; It’s comfortable and you
get a pleasant buzz, but nothing really surprising happens. “Victoria”
has shades of early Clash, “Have Nots & Heartbreak” recalls the
Ramones; the overall sound borrows from the Buzzcocks, Social D., and
Descendents – all good, if not exactly groundbreaking, stuff.
Probably the biggest downside of Rumors and Headlines is that a
good chunk of the CD, while certainly listenable and (usually) enjoyable
while it’s playing, is quickly forgotten once the music stops.
Songs like “S.O.S.” and others, however, make up for that and
demonstrate that when One Man Army’s firing on all eight cylinders,
they’re a pretty fucking amazing band.
Lots of sing-a-long, raucous, melodic punk rock here and, while
Rumors and Headlines is spotty at points, you could certainly do worse
than to grab a copy.- Chris Wissmuller