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Askew Review 15

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– 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



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