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In the Trenches

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Album Review

Although Static Thought don't list them among their myriad hardcore and vintage punk influences, it is the Dead Boys who spring immediately to mind as "Drug of My Mind," the opening track of the band's debut album In the Trenches, slams out of the speakers. It is the vehemence with which the band attack their instruments, the blind fury of frontman Eric Urbach's vocals, that raise the Dead Boys' ghost from the grave. However close they are in spirit, though, musical nods to Cleveland's finest only come in spurts, with occasional Cheetah Chrome-styled guitar solos, best heard on "Ignorance of the Youth." The Dead Boys may have their spirit, but it's early British hardcore, Motörhead, and classic new-school punk bands like NOFX and Rancid that fill their soul. The music as salvation "Drug," for example, slams Motörhead straight into NOFX. "Social Unrest" puts even the speed metal heroes to shame, and contains some of the quickest guitar picking ever heard in punk, but even faster fingers belong to bassist Mike Have-Not, who positively storms across this number. Have-Not's intricate basslines are oft times modeled after Rancid's Matt Freeman, and give the songs a muscle and their sound a touch of ska-core; check out "Trenches" for the former and "Junk, Dope & Speed" for the latter as proof. However, it's the pissed-off paean to Katrina victims, "Dead & Gone," that is an unadulterated tribute to Freeman's band, alongside "Choice Through Struggle," on which his bandmate Lars Frederiksen adds his voice to the chorus. As the album progresses, the arrangements get increasingly tougher, reaching Oi! territory on "Infiltrated Minds." However, extremely deft sequencing feeds more melodic numbers in and out of the set, like the solid slab of punk rock-flavored "Religion, Sex & Class" and the anthemic "Trenches."

The no-nonsense lyrics, scalded in vitriol, many tackling important political and social issues, add further flames to the ferocious fire already burning across this set. Which makes the decision to give a pummeling to the Police's "Next to You" a bit of a shocker. There again, precedent is on their side: the Lords of the New Church gave Madonna's "Live a Virgin" a similar thumping, but that was a joke; Static are dead serious, and turn the wimpy "Next" into a hardcore classic. A spectacular ending to an incendiary set.


Formed: San Francisco, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

San Francisco's East Bay has been the perfect hub for up-and-coming punk acts over the years, and the street-indebted hardcore sounds of Static Thought are no different. Heavily influenced by late-'70s acts like G.B.H. and U.K. Subs, in addition to Black Flag and one of the area's premier outfits, Rancid, Static Thought played around for several years before committing themselves to record with the 2003 EP Outta Control. It brought the guys minor local attention, and two years later (following a...
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In the Trenches, Static Thought
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