British punk trio Grade 2 haling from The Isle of Wight have put together a tasty treat for their third album, with twelve fast-paced, bare-knuckle punk tunes. “Graveyard Island” is produced by Tim Armstrong of Rancid and is the bands debut for new label Hellcat Records.
Grade 2 is vocalist & bassist Sid Ryan, vocalist & guitarist Jack Chatfield, and drummer Jacob Hull. Forming in mid-2013, starting out playing covers in local bars from bands like The Stranglers and The Jam, the young band started to develop their own sound and subsequently, started to write their own songs. Signing with German label Contra in November 2013, the band started to tour around Europe, playing every country they could from France to Slovakia.
Coming on Oct 13th, “Graveyard Island” is an honest reminder that punk is still very much alive and relevant. “Although we’re more than forty years on from when punk began, I actually think the times are very similar now to how they were back then,” says Sid Ryan. “The political climate today means that people see the worst in everything, which means that for us there’s a lot to write about. Everything in the country is pretty much turning to shit! There are certain parts of our record that would make sense were it released in 1976”.
The trio hit the road to LA to record the latest album. Most of the 12 tracks were tracked live as Armstrong wanted the raw sound the band proudly produce live, I witnessed this for myself when they recently supported Dropkick Murphy’s in Dublin. Fitting to the line up well with their high energy performance and visible joy, bouncing back and fort making use of the big stage. I’m sure they left with more than a handful of new fans that night.
The album opens with “Tired of It” which is a declaration and a tone-setter for what’s to come; drenched in frustration and indignation at the current state of affairs the world over. A quick, snappy bare-bones track. Most of the tracks stay true to that punk style of short, under 3 minutes no excess meat structure.
The record, in general, rings out with the themes you usually find in a great punk record, teenage angst, social insecurities and general adolescent despair. However, you also have the uplifting tunes like “Look Up” which has a more diverse sound including a brass section, also one of the more British punk sounding songs on the album. This along with Dover street deal with another side of the punk scene, and that is the inclusive nature of the people in the scene. Punk shows are fun because everyone is there to have a great time and have it together.
My other picks from the record would be Reality is calling, Murder Town, Johnny Aggro (just as punk as it gets for a song name!) and lead single Graveyard Island. Overall front to back, this is a great listen. You have everything from hammering drums, chunky guitar riffs and rattling bass lines mixed well with good vocal melodies.
Pre-save or pre-order the album here.
The band are currently touring the US and will be back in Europe and the UK at the end of the year, find dates here.