September 03, 2013 - Red Scare
Concept albums are usually either the territory of prog-metal bands or some dude having a mid-career crisis. So when it was announced that Milwaukee pop-punkers Direct Hit! were serving up a concept album for their Red Scare debut, the details which seem to involve religion, serial killers, the apocalypse and who knows what else, it was a bit on an eyebrow-raising moment. Luckily, these guys have delivered on Brainless God. Not straying far from their snotty pop-punk roots, Direct Hit! brought the same kind of frenetic energy into the studio that they bring to the stage; drunken, hilarious, punchy, desperate and slightly dangerous. Just the kind of punk rock you’d expect from guys who always type their Facebook status updates in ALL CAPS.
All-American Rejects guitarist Mike Kennerty is at the production helm, and he gives Direct Hit! a glossier sheen than on their previous releases. Comparisons to Blink-182, Sum 41 and the like are sure to be thrown around, but the polish only helps to give these songs the extra oomph they need. The vocals are a mixture of shouts, screams and harmonizing from the three guys in the band and sound particularly amped-up. Whether it’s poppier numbers like “Home To You” and “White Robe,” the thrash attack of “We’re Fucked” or the seasonal-sounding “I Told You A Lie,” which would have fit right in on the Vandals’ Christmas album, Brainless God is just one great punk-rock song after the next. Not since American Idiot has a punk band made a concept album worth as many repeat listens as this—and the best thing is no one would ever dream of making this album into a Broadway musical.