Kid Dynamite - Shorter Faster Louder
How much can I even say about this record? For me, it’s kind of the definition of hardcore. I’ve spoken at length in the past about how Kid Dynamite was a perfect band, and I think it’s an indisputable fact. This record stands tall at number 16 on my list of the greatest albums ever made (tied, obviously with their self-titled debut record), with good reason; it’s the perfect synthesis of everything that’s great about punk rock in general and hardcore in particular. It’s straight-faced with a smirk, and dripping with punk rock cliches while remaining surprisingly original and infusing hardcore with a new life. Everything about it just works, it’s a perfect blend of speed, dexterity, songwriting chops, tightness, and aggression. Littered with huge breakdowns, shout-along choruses, driving rhythms, it’s the birth of Philly hardcore - hell - it’s the birth of modern hardcore.
True to it’s name, it is shorter, faster and louder than Kid D’s debut album (though the average song length is longer, tsk tsk). Even with Spider Cotterman replacing Steve Farrell on bass, the band sounds as locked in as they ever did. Vocalist Jason Shevchuk’s lyrics are hugely relatable to anyone in their early 20’s, and cover everything from racism to heartbreak to all-ages shows. It’s packed to the gills with mosh anthems like “Give ‘Em the Ripped One”, the 10-second assault of “Two for Flinching”, and the stage-dive inspiring classic “Cheap Shot Youth Anthem”. Dave Wagenshutz is the true backbone of this band, pummeling his way through all 24 minutes and 49 seconds, making it impossible not to air-drum along. The hooks and cues, musical and vocal, display guitarist/mastermind Dan Yemin’s signature lightning-quick, seething songwriting, and are catchier than anything that fast or aggressive has any right to be. It’s the final document of a band that burned out so quickly and brightly that they couldn’t help but leave an indelible mark on the face of hardcore, and on Shorter Faster Louder, they’re at the top of their game (the top of everyone’s game), fuming with intensity and intelligence, making a huge but lean sound, staying melodic and abrasive in a single breath. They were the Nirvana to the the tough guy hardcore boom of the late 90’s, and they’ve left the same lasting legacy.
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