Monday, February 16, 2009

Review: Foreign Legion - "Death Valley"

It’s generally been my policy as a reviewer to try and undermine old guard punk rock as little as possible in spite of such flaws as lower energy, half-baked ideas and unmatured approach (it is punk rock, after all) that would throw a more pedantic reviewer into fits of complaint. But sometimes even taking into account a certain “veteran punk rock handicap,” the good just doesn’t outweigh the bad.

Foreign Legion’s menacingly titled Death Valley kicks off with one of the least sinister songs imaginable, the obnoxiously repetitive and fittingly titled “Lots of Fun”: “Lots of fun for everyone / Lots of fun for everyone / Lots of fun for everyone / So let’s go / Go to the theatre / All the stars and stripes / No matter where you go / You’re in for a good night / Lots of fun for everyone / Lots of fun for everyone / Lots of fun for everyone / So let’s go.” The following track, “Alright” is just as hilariously affable and equally awkwardly written: “All together at a gig / Having a wonderful time / Punks and skins are jumping around / Having a wonderful time.” The unripe lyricism continues through “Wasted” with its languid inquiry, “Wasting your life / You’re wasting your time / What the hell are you doing? / Wasting away / Fading away / What the hell are you thinking? / Wasting your life away.”

“She Loves Me Not” has fun and poppy guitarwork and a bouncy rhythm, but is once again ruined by a sub-par chorus, though it’s still probably the best track on the album. The same is true of “Sunset on Babylon,” which could have been a really great song if the author had done more than one take in the lyrics-writing process.

Even some well-placed guitar hooks and a veteran punk ethos couldn’t save Death Valley from the lackluster songwriting and lyrics of Foreign Legion.

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