The problem with most CD reviews is you only get the opinion of the one critic doing the review. So we thought it might be fun to try something new here by giving the exact same CD to two different critics (or more) and see what they each come up with and just how much difference a single critic's opinion can make. 

Note: due to the nature of this series, the reviews may tend to be more in the first person than you are used to with music criticism.

Squad Five-O - Late News Breaking
Label: Capitol

Always Talkin', Never On The Run
Lay It Down
2 Grand And A Lot Of Hassle
All We Have
Bye American
Don't Hesitate
Secret Society
Left Alone
Train Of Shame
Keep Me Up At Night
No Heroes

Opie Muddle's review - he gave it a rating of 

I've never heard of this band before now but I have to tell you, I was pretty impressed (and with a battle-hardened punk, like myself, that's pretty hard to do).  With the resurgence in punk and its current popularity, a lot of bands today are claiming the '77 street-punk style! Now, although they may have the look, most of these current groups simply don't have the sound. 

Y'see, back in the '70's, punk rock was a lot more melodic than it's '80's "hard-core" predecessor. You had bands like CRIME, GENERATION X, THE CLASH, RICHARD HELL & THE VOIDOIDS, THE DEAD BOYS, to name a few! These bands played snotty, rebellious and energetic rock and roll in the name of PUNK...!  And that's exactly what I got from SQUAD FIVE-O!! They are so reminiscent of what early punk sounded like and I loved every minute of it! Aggressive rock'n'roll; sloppy and melodic.

"Late News Breaking" by SQUAD FIVE-O is truly punk ROCK. In the '77 vein, the way it is meant to be played....

Travis Becker's Review - He gave it a Rating of 

A t-shirt heralding the new ethos of the starving punk fan reads, “Punk’s not dead, it just sucks now.”  Such is the mournful cry of the fan of honest rebellious anarchic punk rock in the face of the new wave of disappointing sappy Emo bands and unoriginal Screeching Weasel knock offs.  Surely there’s a band for all of those people yearning for the old school and for the true spirit of punk, not just for a silly haircut and a cock-eyed sneer.  Squad Five-0 wants desperately to be that band and on their aptly titled release, “Late News Breaking” they prove to be the next in line to make the attempt and come up just short.  They may have some breaking news for punk rockers but it is most definitely late.

Squad Five-0 lands somewhere comfortably between the metallic punk that, in the late 80’s, seduced such bands as TSOL and the Bad Brains and the retro Clashiness of Rancid.  In fact, as the CD wears on one could swear this album comprised the outtakes and lost material from, “…And Out Come the Wolves.”  It is derivative, but isn’t that the point of so-called “Old School Punk”?  Yes and no.  It should conjure the spirit without blatantly ripping it off and the Squad walks the fine line at times.  Additionally, there just seems to be something slightly off about the release as it begins.  Whether it’s something in the production or the songwriting is not clear.  It swings with big punches but ultimately comes off a little like Rocky trying to forget how to fight as a southpaw and lead with the right.  It’s a sort of clumsiness and lack of focus on the detailed craft of making a great record that brings the album down a notch.

That being said, it’s still better than most of the punk albums that have come out in the last 5 years.  They make no attempt at silly Emo whining and screaming and the band’s sense of humor is a little more reeled in than the goofball antics casted by their peers in the MTV generation punk bands.  They also stray away from the desperate sadness and anger most of these bands are afflicted with of late.  There is a genuine light heartedness that pervades the record and makes it very listenable.  They certainly still seem pissed off about the state of things in general, but if they weren’t they would be Kenny G or Jessica Simpson and God knows the world does not need any more of either of those two.

If there is truly a bright spot of this band it’s that they do resemble the Clash on “Give Em’ Enough Rope” to a point.  They take a stab or two at eclecticism but it amounts to little more than Ska-influenced meandering.  The crux of the record is in your face guitars and fist pumping shouts.  In making that comparison, though, it’s vital to remember that the Clash’s next record was “London Calling.”  Squad Five-0 has the potential to make a record like that if they grow up some and get off of a major label.  We can only hope as listeners that the next batch of news this band makes is hot off the presses.

antiGUY's Review - He gave it a Rating of 

Let's face it, punk was bastardized the moment that record execs dreamed they could make a buck off of it. Pretty soon all the pretenders were out in force and armed with record contracts.  Punk didn't sell in bizillians so they toned it down a notch and gave it a makeover, called it "New Wave" and used a new promotional vehicle called MTV to create their megastars.  

"New Wave" eventually died the terrible fashion death that all trends are fated to meet. In the 90s the next great mainstream bastardation came in the form of "pop-punk" and "emo". Armed with a slew of pretty boys with semi "punk rawk" images and mind numbing distorted pop songs, they descended on the MTV temple and made bank!  Forgot that everything these groups stand for it diametrically opposed to everything that punk stands for. They were like kEwL and so pUnL rAwk… not to mention cute! 

Luckily, over the past 30 years real punks have had plenty of legit bands to listen to (with real punk and its credible offshoots). Once in a while a real punk band somehow slides through the mainstream's bland-o-meter® and land a deal with a major label. Such is the case with Squad Five-0, a rather surprising signing to Capitol Records (then again in metal, Capitol gave us Iron Maiden. So it's not too surprising).   

Squad Five-0 turn their back on the trendmaking that bogus mainstream punk has become and instead offer something of far more intrinsic value: a look at what made punk great in the first place.  This isn't a band trying to reinvent the artform, instead they take the ethos, style, and integrity of the OP (original punkers) and give it a modern face.  The result is one of the strongest punk records to come out on a major label since The Clash(Epic) and The Ramones(Sire) were blazing the trail of punk rock. What is cool about this album, aside from the songs, is the fact that this is a new band that just may be able to breakthrough and show all the kids being ripped off with pop-punk and emo bands, what punk is really all about. We know those kids are too timid and lack enough adventure to look to the underground for it, but with Capitol Records backing a real, credible punk band, these kids might just have a chance to discover the real deal. And folks, Squad Five-0 is the real deal.  I can write words about this CD all day long, but hear is believing. Go now and hear why this band convinced me of their credibility. If after hearing it and you disagree, I'll give you an authentic punk response…  F**K OFF!    

Listen to Samples and Purchase This CD online



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