If the disproportionate fan hype doesn't kill the comeback, the bands do a pretty good job at dooming it themselves. There's a tendency to "go big" on these sorts of records and we end up with overlong, emotionally heavy, self-important releases that aren't so much rock records as they're events: Despite the fact that the band pulled themselves together later that fall, the call of a new record became less of a realistic expectation and more of a mantra for those of us who were disillusioned with the "state of punk. That record's blatant alternative-rock leanings kept the tempo too sluggish at times and it's huge booming production values detracted from the roots rock feel that the band is known for. The result is a very mature set of songs. Yes, it was happening. Upbeat and hopeful, Ness presents it not as a eulogy but as a celebration of life. Instrumentally there's no evidence Social Distortion took any downtime. Written for the late Dennis Danell, it's been a part of Social D's set list for years now but gets its first proper studio treatment here.
Despite the fact that the band pulled themselves together later that fall, the call of a new record became less of a realistic expectation and more of a mantra for those of us who were disillusioned with the "state of punk. A September in fact. Login to Rate Eight years is an eternity in rock 'n' roll. After eight years we get ten songs, a nice sequencing and not quite fourty minutes of music. I've always seen Mike Ness as somewhat of the soul of American punk, and here he's delivered us a finely crafted, enjoyable punk rock album, nothing more or less. Upbeat and hopeful, Ness presents it not as a eulogy but as a celebration of life. Yes, it was happening. At this point, and after his solo outlets, Ness knows the strengths in his song writing and certainly isn't going to sour it with an unexpected change in direction. It's fantastic to see so many people jazzed about a new Social Distortion record, but unrealistic expectations are a bitch. That record's blatant alternative-rock leanings kept the tempo too sluggish at times and it's huge booming production values detracted from the roots rock feel that the band is known for. It's clear that age and tragedy can't stop this band, as this is one of the strongest records in Social Distortion's already distinguished career. Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll is a reaction to the last eight years. This is long before Blink spawned the many-headed mall punk hydra. However these references are less omnipresent than on White Light. It's both a tribute to a fallen comrade and a celebration of all that is right about rock'n'roll. Instrumentally there's no evidence Social Distortion took any downtime. The tragic and sudden death of founding member Dennis Danell in February of set things back indefinitely. That was the date that influential and celebrated west coast punk act Social Distortion released their last proper studio album. They're especially dangerous in the case of a comeback album from a veteran band. Long before Refused and At The Drive In wrote the records that have been ripped off a thousand times since. Think of all that's happened in punk music since and it's astonishing. However this excitement is a double-edged sword. The chorus is instantly memorable and it's the first true evidence that the band's song writing has grown for the better. Ness is as defiant as always and still playing the role of the streetwise gutter-poet, however there's less open conflict evident here. We've even had a few roots-Americana solo releases from frontman Mike Ness. There's always been genuine soul in the work of Mike Ness, but here it burns brighter than ever before.
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