The U.S. Bombs' "Covert Action" is reviewed by Bedlam Society

There's not much to be left unsaid when listening to a band featuring the infamous Duane Peters. For those not fortunate enough to be familiar with who that is, he's not only old enough to be your father but also crucial enough to kick your ass, and steal your girlfriend (or boyfriend if he so chooses) for that matter. Duane Peters is solely responsible for introducing punk rock and the punk aesthetic to the skateboarding lifestyle. Aside from all that, he manages to run a label and fronts numerous musical projects, one of those being the renowned U.S. Bombs.

"Cover Action" is the fourth U.S. Bombs release on Hellcat records and a small departure of sorts for their somewhat typical style. The song writing is still catchy and remains heavily in the vein of traditional '77 era punk rock, but appears to be a tad more inspired then the material on some of their previous releases. Clocking just over thirty minutes divided amongst thirteen tracks, this album is still sure to appeal more so to the A.D.D. listener, rather then someone looking for a cryptic, moving experience.

The album opens on a very strong point with the lead single (if you can call it that, but they have a video for it) "Roll Around" in which personal diatribes about the desire for skateboarding and reckless living is conveyed in the journal-like manner that Mr. Peters is recognized for. It heads through the standard bunch of U.S. Bombs songs from there, only to jump to the midway point in the album to reveal a Ska-fused track "The Gow", which clocks upwards of four minutes demonstrating that they're not just going for the straight-up formula. If that's not diverse enough for you, they even bang out "Faith Of Marie" which is a laid back surf instrumental (with horns and all), just before the albums exit to the hardcore inspired "American Made" to ensure you don't forget whom you're listening to.

Thematically, this release is also a step apart. It's littered with opinion, social commentary and the hard-fought lessons the U.S. Bombs are notorious for, instead of just the normal drinking and fighting fare (although there is some of that on here also). Peters explores everything from the possibly of the Mafia running the country on "John Gottie" to Timothy McVeigh's innocence, suggesting the governments conspiracy and cover up of the Oklahoma bombing on "Framed."

Although this is no groundbreaking departure, or further progression for music at large, it remains a solid, standout album from the bunch. This is not the type of record or band to entice a new audience to the genre, but rather demonstrate flawlessly what it's all about to people already in the know. This is a must for punk rock fanatics as it's the best U.S. Bombs album in years and a return to their classic form, however it may be overlooked otherwise.

Chris "Rose City" O'Toole

Bedlam Society