October 14, 2019 Booze & Glory – Hurricane (Album Review)
Respect is key in this day and age, and the British Street Punk rockers in Booze & Glory are here to demand some of yours with their latest, Hurricane. Scarlet Teddy Records deliver the punk-itude on Friday, October 18th, 2019.
Formed in London in 2009 with the goal of paying musical tribute to the rowdy UK Street Punk and Oi! bands of the ‘70s and ’80s, working class heroes Booze & Glory would make a name for themselves with relentless gigging across the globe. Certainly it didn’t hurt that their debut video, “London Skinhead Crew,” racked up in excess of 15-million views on YouTube alone, helping to propel album’s such as 2010’s Always on the Wrong Side, 2011’s Trouble Free, 2014’s As Bold As Brass, and 2017’s Chapter IV. Certainly performing alongside the eclectic likes of Judas Priest, Dropkick Murphys and The Interrupters did not hurt their career, either.
With four full-lengths, two compilations, multiple split EPs and much more beneath their collective belt, the guys in Booze & Glory—Vocalist/Guitarist Mark RSK, Lead Guitarist Kahan, Bassist Chema Zurita, and Drummer Frank Pellegrino—are set to lay it all on the line with their fifth full-length. The 12-song Hurricane aims to be the biggest, boldest, and most explosive offering from the band yet. Produced by Millencolin Guitarist Mathias Farm in Sweden, Hurricane introduces piano and organ into the musical mix, upgrading the quartet’s lyrical messages of positivity and hope.
Hurricane opens to the raucous and raw “Never Again.” With sing-along worthy choruses and some frenetic bass work from Zurita, the track is a reminder of the reciprocity of respect. That deliciously fat bass continues into the catchy “Ticking Bombs,” a rallying cry that, despite the chaos and destruction everywhere, we must unite and march toward progress. Then, they turn toward the personal and autobiographical with “Ten Years,” celebrating the passage of a decade and looking to the good times ahead, all while acknowledging the achievement of so many of their dreams.
The fast-paced and fiery rocker “Live It Up” urges listeners to be loyal, fair and kind, and to embrace each day enthusiastically—but above all be genuine and respectful in all you do. It might sound pretty common sense, but the reminder is set to an infectiously joyous bop that will have you bouncing on your toes. Next, going for bold melodies, the tale of “The Guv’nor” centers around the “hardest man in Britain,” Lenny McLean. While it might not strike quite the same chord with Americans, topically speaking, the track certainly presents an infectious and enjoyable listen as it gives a nod to the infamous enforcer and boxer turned actor.
Taking a moment to breathe, keyboards accompany Mark as he glances in the mirror for the titular “Hurricane.” Exploring the mistakes of the past, Booze & Glory observe that none of us are perfect—so we must keep moving forward and quit looking back as we pursue our futures. Moving into more global topics, “My Heart Is Burning” announces itself with pride and a splendid guitar hook, marching into a solemn look at making a change in the world and ourselves to embrace our power before time runs out. In short, be the change that you wish to see in this world.
If this is too bleak and too much realism for you, they follow it up with the upbeat “Goodbye.” With funky bass riffs and a bouncing pace, the track finds the band once again exploring autobiographical territory, especially living on the road in a bus and having to say adios from California to Japan. Rocking out, “Darkest Nights” sees the foursome firing on all cylinders, musically speaking. With their trademark gang vocals, they delve into the socio-political (“There’s nothing to respect”) and hit hard with their keen insight and Punk Rock might.
This paves the way for a cover of Elton John’s 1983 hit “I’m Still Standing.” Perfectly suited to the collection, the Booze & Glory boys rock out on their rendition, adding their own personality to the well-loved classic. This prepares you to raise your glass for “Three Points,” a wild time at the pub supporting Mark’s beloved West Ham United soccer team—oh, happy day! It’s catchy, it’s joyously fun, and it’s meant to be both, so cheer along.
Ultimately, they end with the poignant “Too Soon.” Opening with delicate piano, the track builds into an infectious melody that would make former tourmates Dropkick Murphys giddy. Sharing some (slight) similarities with the aforementioned’s “Rose Tattoo,” “Too Soon” is an ode to those that have gone before their time. In this way, Booze & Glory sign off with a caress to the hand of the dearly departed, whose memories continue to burn bright.
As with most Punk bands, there’s no lyrical poetic metaphors or genre-bending sonic experimentation to what Booze & Glory do. Instead, they focus on straightforward lyrics that explore themes of respect, individuality, politics, and beyond, all while oozing an infectious positivity and hope. With melody-drenched throughout every chord, Hurricane acknowledges the chaotically bleak world around us, but it seeks to imbue listeners with the idea that together we can rise above. But first, there needs to be a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. On board with the dream, Cryptic Rock give Booze & Glory’s Hurricane 4 of 5 stars. Oh yeah, and Punk’s not dead!