Righteous Jams

Business As Usual | Abacus
By ANDREW MARCUS  |  January 16, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
There’s a reason the recent documentary American Hardcore cuts off around 1986. The late ’80s were no golden age for hardcore punk: Ian MacKaye’s “straight edge” philosophy had been misconstrued as a defensive, militant worldview, and that left the music of suburban rage thuggish and sterile. But Boston’s own Righteous Jams know that straight edge, at its best, was/is a sort of fervid, puritanical party music. And singer Joey Contrada spends more time on self-improvement than on the malediction of hippies and hypocrites. “Ambitious I’m striving unaffected, focused I’m free,” he rasps on “Nothing Happens (Till It Happens),” sounding as if he’d been self-motivating the collagen out of his vocal cords since the band’s ’04 debut. What makes this album’s 10 burly rippers into actual jams is guitarist Elgin James’s willingness to flirt with foreign textures without breaching the bounds of hardcore good taste. On “Adams St.,” he summons a squall of knotty rhythms and glinting, near-metal leads over Contrada’s lament for lost certainty. With that track alone, Righteous Jams pick up the mantle of their late-’80s progenitors, turn it over, and mop the moshpit floor.
Related: Jazz hands, Hollywood holidaze, Punked out, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Ian MacKaye, Elgin James
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