Shocked Minds – Shocked Minds

It’s worthwhile to note that a trio of former Carbonas players comprise the collective conscious of Shocked Minds. And Dave Rahn, Josh Martin and Jeremy Thompson, all three revered elders of Atlanta’s current punk scene now living in Brooklyn, don’t only have the retired raw punk ensemble in their repertoires. Ex-Humans, Baby Shakes, new fellow Hozac band GAMES and Testors are among the many credits in the mix, not to mention Rahn’s production work, which includes this LP.

For card-carrying members of the cultish underground scene, a mental light should flash when, on the album’s very first song, Martin fumes, “And you think it’s so easy/ Easy to be me/ Well I’m telling you something there’s a lot that you don’t see/ I’m just along for the ride/ But the ride chose me.” It’s a disclaimer maybe meant to ready the listener, a notice that what’s compiled here is time-honed and true. With the players’ histories in mind, the respect-me rant is easily supported – but it’s absolutely unnecessary.

“Along for the Ride” is a great kick-starting opener, infectious in melody with the dizzying drawing-out of “ride” in the chorus. The rest of the LP proves, however, that Shocked Minds have little need to be telling rather than showing. Following up the opening romp is “Drug Song,” in which Martin shoots off lyrics so fast it’d be silly if not for the audible snot-nosed attitude. Another ripper is “Confusion,” a ready-made anthem. Played live, “Never give in/ Never surrender!” is bound to fuel many a clenched fist and neck vein-popping shout-along. Martin’s vocals are piercing with paranoia on “Suspect,” and its low-key Western motif is shredded into punk-rock submission from the midpoint onward. The loose staccato of the band’s bratty theme song “Shocked Minds” slows the pace but perpetuates the psychosis of the preceding track. The LP’s power-pop undercurrent is at its most potent in the guitar work of “Danger,” but deep, layered vocals backing Martin’s add a little Manson family fright, which muddles any potential for carefree merriment.

Martin wrote the whole thing, basically, and had Rahn and Thompson learn the bass and drum parts, respectively, on recording day. It’s Martin, then, who’s got to come to terms with his punk-rock lifer status and, as a musician, the resulting esteem. Reminding people of it is an itch he was compelled to scratch this time, but he should accept his part is beyond just being “Along for the Ride.” He’s one of the drivers.

Shocked Minds
Shocked Minds