Whoever said “punk’s dead” has clearly not listened to Liv, a band so punk they refer to themselves as “South Bay Scums.” These California heavy-hitters recently released Be the Change, and it’s a solid ’90s-style, hardcore-punk collection, with hints of Call to Preserve, Seventh Star and Strengthen What Remains.I have always been one to quickly label albums as generic, especially when it comes to punk. When I listened to Be the Change and then Change the World by From the Eyes of Servants, for example, I hear little to no difference in the overall sound. The fact is that punk music has conformed to one universal style; there aren’t a lot of risk-takers in the genre. While punk has always been raw, fast and aggressive, the sound has had trouble evolving over the years. Liv’s album is a prime example of the fact that punk is certainly not “dead,” but in fact, it is instead the same as it always has been.
Make no mistake — I do not intend to place harsh criticism upon this album; it genuinely is an enjoyable and uplifting collection of songs. My biggest complaint is with the overall arch of the punk movement. If you are hoping to find evidence of dynamic musical talent and complex instrumentation, Liv’s not for you. On the other hand, if you have plenty of fun two-stepping in your bedroom to the sound of that punk drumbeat every 20-something hardcore kid loves? Noisy guitars that remind you why your mother insists you start wearing ear plugs? Groovy bass lines mixed with passionate exclamations? It’s okay to join in with the band, and fly the flag of an angsty punk.