Self Defense Family / Goodtime Boys
Palm Reader Records
11 November 2013
by Alex Andrews
Self Defense Family are a strange one. They’ve changed their name so many times you can never be sure what they’re actually called; they’re wildly prolific yet they’ve only managed three albums in 10 years; and despite the fact that they practically live on social media, their inane chatter and lack of a proper website means that Wikipedia remains the best way of keeping track of their discography.
What’s immediately obvious about the band on record is that Patrick Kindlon can’t sing a note to save his life – but that’s partly what makes his band so endearing. The amusingly-titled ‘Not Considered A Flight Risk’ is a catchy, shambling slow jam that distances itself from their earlier emo racket. Instead, it sounds like a more ragged Built To Spill or Pavement (there’s even a tambourine), while Kinnon, at his mercurial best, muses that “Interests are equal, from tanning to collecting Nazi memorabilia. It’s all the same, a way to spend days, a way to forestall creeping thoughts of the grave.”
On the flipside, the sole offering from Goodtime Boys adds more fuel to the fire already burning behind the belief that the Welsh band may be the best in modern-day hardcore (a bold statement, no doubt, but I’m a bold kind of guy). Although they may have not yet released anything that coukd be considered genuinely game-changing, they’ve inched closer with every record and ‘Dreams of Life’ continues this trend.
Make no mistake, the band play with an upmost urgency, but the instrumental flourishes and clean production make for an easy, almost soothing listen that somehow compliments the harshness of Alex Pennie’s vocal delivery; the ebb and flow is so fluid, at times it actually sounds symphonic.
It’s a shame that neither Goodtime Boys nor Self Defense Family manage to stick around for much longer than three minutes, making the record a fleeting one at best. But with both bands gearing-up to release full-lengths in the New Year, Palm Reader Records have succeeded in giving us a tantalising teaser for two records that are both up there with next year’s most eagerly anticipated.
Sounds Like: Two sides of the punk rock spectrum shouting at each other.
Standout Tracks: There’s two of them.