The Orange County Supertones have come quite a distance in the past eight years. Despite a staggering degree of lineup changes, including the loss of nearly all of the band's original members, The Supertones have learned what it means to survive. Their sixth studio album, Revenge Of The O.C. Supertones, seeks to breathe new life into a genre said to have been dead for years. So the question is, "Does it?"
Revenge Of The O.C. Supertones successfully takes what you have come to know and love about the Supertones through the years and uses it to write an exciting new chapter. While the songwriting certainly may be more mature than their earlier work, it isn't less fun by any means. The opening track "Wake Me Up On Time" and "We Shall Overcome" are some of the strongest anthems put out by the Supertones in years. While their previous record Hi-Fi Revival aimed for a post-ska direction and explored funk-fused rock n' roll, fans just didn't embrace it as openly as it deserved to be. For those who did happen to prefer that approach over their older material may still find some hope in songs like "Where I Find You," but ultimately Revenge is more of a return to the glory days of their strongest release Supertones Strike Back.
The only drawback to Revenge is its pacing. While the album begins brilliantly with the first six tracks, it almost runs out of steam from there. And while Strike Back was practically a non-stop thrill ride for the ear canals, Revenge takes a more laid back approach as the album progresses. But it's songs like "The Kingdom" that take anthemic turns closer to the end of the song that really make them memorable. The album is as bold lyrically as any other Supertones release, and the ska-flavored rock ballads like "Shepherd Is The Lamb" and "Faith Like A Child" are some of the more worshipful and thoughtful offerings on the record.
So while Revenge may not quite live up to the power and command of earlier work like Supertones Strike Back, it comes very close and fans should be pleased with this album's outcome. The Orange County Supertones haven't given up the fight yet, and if the title of this record says anything, we can be sure they won't stop making fun-yet-relevant new music for quite some time yet.- Review date: 06/9/04, written by John DiBiase
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