Blacklist Royals - Semper Liberi
I often use mid-00’s punk act The Blackout Pact as a reference point for feeling swindled by punk rock businessmen. They came around at a time where Punknews.org’s readership was increasing exponentially, and “orgcore” was becoming a viable subgenre in punk rock, and I felt as though they were being sold to me as opposed to being something that occurred naturally. My feelings toward Nashville’s Blacklist Royals are very similar. Some kind of halfway point between the unbridled Springsteen worship of The Gaslight Anthem’s last two records and the coked-out vocals and general blandness of The Loved Ones’ Build & Burn, Semper Liberi is - in a manner of speaking - everything that bores me but gets shoved down my throat incessantly in the current punk rock climate. The romanticized 50’s greaser imagery meets ‘77 punx is beginning to reach a point that’s starting to make me ill. Much like the Flogging Mollies and Dropkick Murphys of yesteryear, the whole Americana-rag-top-shark-fins-Marlboro Reds-rolled-up-in-the-sleeve schtick is as ridiculous as having a bagpiper or fiddler in your band is. Maybe it’s this “urban elitist” attitude I’ve got, but there’s nothing here I identify with (and I grew up in fucking Appalachia). I’ll bet they put on a fun live show and all, but this record offers me nothing I can’t get anywhere else done better and with more sincerity.