Was this album recorded in 2017? I need to double-check…yes! Yes, it was.
The latest release from Southern California punks Channel 3, also known as CH3, encompasses everything good about early 80s punk rock. Featuring cacophonous vocals with healthy injections of reverb, devil-may-care attitude to lyricism, amalgamate instrumental styling, and an overall raucous joy permeating throughout, Put ‘Em Up is dripping with old school vibes albeit without ever feeling encased in boring nostalgia. Instead the 10 songs comprising the record are a roller coaster from start to finish–and you will be glad you took the ride!
Their first full-length LP in more than a decade, CH3’s Put ‘Em Up manages to walk the tightrope of sounding aggressive without being frightening or unapproachable. Instead we find an overall silliness and immaturity built from ‘80s teen angst carried over into adulthood. And it works. Is it pure, unadulterated escapism? Absolutely! And what’s wrong with that? In our often unbelievably insane times, acne-ridden, testosterone-drenched shenanigans can be as good a medicine for stressful days as it was then.
Yet, like any great punk band, CH3 do not shy away from political dialogue. The album’s title track (and music video–see below) make no bones about expressing anger at our president and his policies. Lyrics such as “It’s not the same / These voices of change / Was once discussion now a spitting rage / Bring us your tired, bring us your poor / Just drop ‘em off at the prison doors” and “When they come will you put up a fight?” are an unabashed rallying call against corrupt authority. Considering much of what we now define as “punk rock attitude” grew from the political climate of Reagan and Thatcher (depending on which side of the Atlantic you were on), it is practically the genre’s duty to act as a mouthpiece for the disenchanted.
Though listeners could argue that the album lacks the bite that early ‘80s singles such as “Catholic Boy” and “Got a Gun” delivered, Put ‘Em Up still packs a fair punch. Tracks including “Model Citizen,” “Not That it Matters,” “The God That You Deserve,” to name a few, prove the band has not only kept their initial aggression but also learned to focus it. Yes the simplistic, unrefined crunch of their early recordings has given way to a somewhat more polished sound–albeit one not far at all from that of their early days. However, the presence of more polished production and easier tunes are inherently not a bad thing. It shows the band’s growth, crafting songs which are both cohesive and chaotic at once. Meanwhile, mellower entries such as “Half the Day” as well as the deftly executed cover of Ella Fitzgerald’s “Blue Skies” help break up any monotony while showcasing the band’s virtuosity in different styles and genres.
See the band live at the following venues!
Oct 21: Remember The Punks 2 Festival in San Antonio, TX
Oct 27: Observatory OC in Santa Ana, CA
More date in your area to be posted here.
Check out their politically-charged music video for the title album’s title track: