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FDR

McRad

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Album Review

Two decades after the release of Absence of Sanity, Chuck Treece decides to have another go at rocking skatepunk on FDR with a new rendition of McRad. The band sounds surprisingly current, and borrows a little from the West Coast pop-punkers of the moment, but still has a foot planted firmly in the Bad Brains inspired punk-metal from the '80s. Unfortunately, in Treece's attempt to rectify the band, he took the liberty of re-recording six of the classic cuts from Absence of Sanity, and by doing so he tarnishes songs that were once great skate anthems, including the brilliant, "Prevent That Tragedy," and "Weakness." This could be an understandable move, if the original songs sounded dated, but in many ways they sound more relevant than the newer versions. Like the Brains' release from 2007, Build a Nation, the energized vocals from the band's heyday have devolved into a less energetic and reckless style, and are compensated by production tricks like dubby delays and reverbs. At times, like in "Dead by Dawn," he resists the urge to shout or push his vocal range at all, and speaks the verses in a manner reminiscent of G. Love. This wouldn't be such a bad thing if the original "Dead by Dawn" wasn't such a rollicking hardcore song, but this toned-down remake is just strange in retrospect. Presumably, this disc is being used as a calling card to get shows playing on an upcoming Warped Tour, where he would fit right in, but it also serves to show that Chuck doesn't exactly have a wealth of new material. Of the new songs, there are a few standouts ("Feel," and "Son"), but without the remakes and instrumentals, this would only be a four-song EP. If the entire CD were of those songs' caliber, it would be a wonderful showing, but as uneven as this presentation is, it's difficult to recommend. At best, a few of these songs are worth plopping on an ipod, otherwise, this release's best attribute is that it could possibly rekindle interest in the band's unfairly overlooked classic release.

Biography

Formed: 1982 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '00s

Like Bad Brains, McRad started as an '80s hardcore band that specialized in speed punk and dabbled in metal, reggae, and jazz. As the sport of skateboarding became increasingly popular, they became favorites in the West Coast scene, despite their roots in Philly. In 1982, soon after skater Chuck Treece became sponsored (with the help of Bones Brigade mastermind Stacy Peralta), he formed the hardcore punk group McRad with fellow skater Zeke Zagar. The skate world and the band's thrashing music intersected...
Full bio
FDR, McRad
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