Kill Lincoln – Can’t Complain
There was a time when ska-punk was extremely popular. It was everywhere. It was mainstream. Depending on how you felt about the convoluted genre – folks either loved it or it left them feeling nauseated – there was no denying that it was a “thing.” Twenty-five years later, ska-punk is basically back to its underground roots again, where it used to be before its mid-to-late ’90s surge. While there aren’t a whole lot of bands bringing new life into the genre, D.C.’s Kill Lincoln is at least attempting to, and it’s a breath of positive air in a year that’s been the drizzling shits.
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Ryan Perras (of the punk band with horns, The Atom Age), and produced by Kill Lincoln’s vocalist and guitarist Mike Sosinski, Can’t Complain is a well-produced, focused record. The band as a unit sounds raw and real, and the vocals by Sosinski are clear, clean, and cut through. There’s no over-processing or over-production. One of the major problems in the ska-punk genre is that the bulk of the horn sections are sloppy, clunky, out-of-tune, and sometimes just an outright afterthought. In contrast, Kill Lincoln’s horn section is tight and in-tune, with parts that aren’t just catchy but thoughtfully crafted and musically sound.
“Greetings from Innerspace,” a Less Than Jake-esque banger, gets the album off to an energetic start. All the ska-punk trappings are there: distorted-then-upbeat guitars; scaley basslines; loud, in-your-face, sing-songy vocals; and blasting horns. The record continues on this same trajectory for the next couple songs, “Used Up” and “Last Ditch Denial.” “Ignorance is Bliss” changes it up a bit, as it’s a skate-punk song that turns into a straight-up neo-pop-punk anthem, with half-time drums in the chorus. It’s a short song, clocking in at little more than a minute and a half, and Kill Lincoln is at their best here.
Elsewhere, “Who Am I This Time” and “Time Spent; Wasted” are by far the catchiest songs on the album. “Quarantine Dream” is a fast-spaced number about, you guessed it, the tumultuous times we’re living in. The closing title track is devoid of any upbeat, clear guitar ska parts, it’s essentially just punk with horns in the vein of MU330 and early Treephort (sorry to name drop my own band).
While we’ve heard this sound before, who cares, this is a great record.