Catch 22 - Permanent Revolution
Release Date: June 27, 2006
Record Label: Victory Records
After being torn to shreds and abandoned by nearly all of those in support of their earliest work, New Jersey's most successful, celebrated ska-punk combo are back once more. This time around, Catch 22 bring us Permanent Revolution, a concept album that is lyrically based in chronological order around the life and times of Leon Trotsky (the father of Marxist theory and leader of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia), as well as the follow up to 2004's widely-criticized Dinosaur Sounds. Marking the bands sixth release on Victory Records, Permanent Revolution is certainly going to spark some opinions, and whether those opinions be in favour of the bands efforts, or bring about another organized riot, this will be left entirely up to public. However, regardless of what the outcome may be, nobody can deny that the once praised ska legends have turned over a new leaf with their latest release, standing as a roller-coaster ride of aggression, excitement, and education.
However, before indulging yourself in the next addition to this bands remarkable catalogue, let a few small notes be clear. This is not another Keasbey Nights. This isn't at all Alone In a Crowd under new name. This is, without a doubt, not part two of Dinosaur Sounds. This is Catch 22, and Permanent Revolution is what they've come up with.
From the moment the record opens, which begins in a rather atypical fashion in comparison to the bands previous work, launching the listener headfirst into a rather ear-catching piano arrangement, it is clearly evident that this is not the same Catch 22 we have heard time and time again. Lead vocalist and saxophonist Ryan Eldred's voice is better than ever before, as he performs his vocal duties in a slightly deeper tone of voice. However, this slight change does not stand out of place on the record in the slightest, as it travels hand-in-hand perfectly with the obvious darkened, overcast mood we're overcome with. The albums second track, "The Spark", shows the band leaning towards more of a slower pace, with an apparent reggae influence, than one may have heard before. Ultimately, the track is without a doubt one of the most satisfying pieces New Jersey's finest creates throughout Permanent Revolution's running time, however the chorus (which is a constant repeat of Key singing "When the roots pop up") is rather irritating after one or two listens at the most. However, what may have been lost score-wise on track two, is made up for immediately from the opening notes of "The Party Song", the records third track. It's this song alone that is undoubtedly the most reminiscent of the bands previous release, Dinosaur Sounds, as we're struck with a powerful, ska/pop-punk gem. The bands horn section (which is comprised of saxophonist Ryan Eldred, trombonist Ian Mckenzie, and trumpeter Kevin Gunther) is in full-throttle once more as we're overwhelmed with one of the most anthemic horn arrangements my ears have ever heard.
Moving forwards, another one of the bands chief success stories found here is in "A Minor Point", the records fifth track. The song itself is a perfect blend of in-your-face, ska-punk, and a stunning mixture of harmonies and musical ability, creating a track that wouldn't sound out of place on Alone In A Crowd at all. On "Bad Party", the band kicks it up a notch into a fast, punk oriented creation allowing listeners to let out any aggression they may be compressing on the inside. "The Opportunity" is a slower, reggae-tinged track based around Trotsky's assassination, and one that would surprise me more than anything if it did not end up being classified as a favourite in the minds of many.
However, on the other hand, as many shining moments as there are on Permanent Revolution, there are just as many falling stars. Although Eldred's voice is certainly at the top of its game, it's almost impossible to come across much vocal range in the way he steers the bands ship. Luckily, this doesn't do much to drag the record down at all, but at times it definitely makes particular tracks run together with others, making the album sound like one jumbled mess. Another low point on the albums negative side is without a doubt the volume that the bands horn section performs at. Again, at times, it seems as though the three players become "lost in the mix", as I found myself straining my ears time and time again to make out the arrangements with ease.
But, when it all boils down, there's enough solid, infectious material on Permanent Revolution to keep listeners coming back for more, and craving what this band has up their sleeves to offer next. Catch 22 may not have created an audio revolution with their new release, but they did successfully construct one of the most refreshing ska-punk albums I've heard in a long, long time. A revolution would have been nice, and a record that will sway the minds of those who criticize the bands current form would've been an astonishing gift, but I've always been one to accept what I can get, and Permanent Revolution should not be considered a letdown in any way, shape, or form.
This review is a user submitted review from Brandon Allin. You can see all of Brandon Allin's submitted reviews here.
OK, what the F. Is it Catch 22, or is it Streetlight Manifesto? Are they the same? Are they different? Which band has an album called Keasbey Nights? Because, if it's the same band putting out the same album under different names...thats kind of ridiculous.
Catch 22. Streetlight Manifesto contains ex-members of Catch 22, including Tomas Kalnoky, who is widely regarded as the reason people liked old Catch 22 (singer/songwriter/guitarist) Since he wrote Keasbey Nights, he felt that he should put out the re-release of KN before Victory could dick it up with one of those shitty re-releases. It's all in the liner notes of the new version, as well as "12341234" on the new album.
The first time i heard the cd i thought "wow..." It's a beautifull cd, I couldn't believe my ears after I heard the live cd. I totally join the guy saying the musical niveau is high. Maybe to high for people who just wanna hear standard ska-songs i dunno but oh man i love to listen to this one.