Album Review: North Alone - Punk Is Dad
Punk Is Dad
Every so often, we’ll cross paths with a band on social media and become intrigued before ever hearing a song. That’s always the case when a promo photo shows band members wearing t-shirts toting Tony Sly, The Ramones, and The Descendents; the exact indication that told us we needed to hear Punk Is Dad, the first new album from Germany’s North Alone since 2018’s Next Stop CA. For nearly a decade, the group has been offering their brand of melodic, Celtic touched punk rock, that combines great rhythms, mid-tempo melodies, the whine of prominent fiddle, raw vocals, and honest lyrics, with their traditional folk inspired punk. Punk Is Dad opens with one of those signature mid-tempo melodies on “For Milo” and sets the pace for the entire album as Manuel North sings an open letter to his child with lyrics such as, “how fast will I get old as you grow up” and “I will always be your best friend, even if I have to make decision you don’t understand.” Everyday life with a family/wife is a universal topic for most of the album, whether it’s when singing about today’s generation being out of touch on title track “Punk is Dad,” them not knowing about nostalgic 80’s romance on North’s ode to his wife on “Mixtape,” and “Too Young,” a song that tells his kid to go outside and enjoy the sun while humorously listing the things he’s too young to have: a smartphone, PlayStation, social media and unimportant virtual friends. As you weave through the album, you begin understanding that it’s truly one that sings straight to the heart of us older punk rockers; the ones who’ve lived this scene for years, but can now look back from a new, older perspective. Their melodic punk sound, although modern, is mostly a throwback to the mid-90’s Fat Wreck Chords feel, making sense then of the album closer “Application” - the quick and to the point song that sees them pleading with Fat Mike of their desire to be signed by his Fat Wreck Chords; a place where North Alone would fit in perfectly alongside The Real McKenzies.