Roger Miret And The Disasters – Gotta Get Up Now (Music Review)

Gotta Get Up Now cover

Roger Miret And The Disasters - Gotta Get Up Now

For the past decade, Roger Miret (of the seminal 80’s hardcore band Agnostic Front) has fronted The Disasters. The songs typically tell unapologetic stories of his violent youth and the glory days of punk rock. The result is strangely backward-looking for a genre that usually focuses on the here-and-now. But Miret has earned the right to a few victory laps, and The Disasters’ songs are clear and compulsively listenable, a cleaner, Oi Punk-influenced version of his hardcore past.

Gotta Get Up Now still has these stories of Miret’s youth, but it takes a surprising turn towards activism. Through tracks like “Stand Up and Fight”, “The Enemy”, and the title track, Miret suddenly seems more interested in calling his fans to action instead of just telling stories. This is what I thought I wanted for the past few albums, but the reality is strangely unsatisfying.

This is largely because Miret is so vague on what he’s calling on his fans to do. The message is “stand up and work together”, but the lyrics rarely mention what to work together on. There’s a brief mention about the power in a union, and “Red White and Blue” accuses politicians of lying to us, but that’s about it. He’s much more forthcoming when it comes to details about growing up in the Lower East Side (pissing in a record store, breaking into cars, and seeing friends die), but that’s not going to win him much political capital. Are his intentions actually political at all? “Tonight’s the Night” implies that he’s just calling people to rally around a strong, united punk scene.

The songs themselves are satisfying, of course. The band hasn’t changed much in the five years since their last album. If anything, the production is a little dirtier than the earlier albums, which were unusually clear for punk, and the rest of the band is more likely to join in on the raucous vocals. But they don’t have any especially hooky tracks like “Kiss Kiss Kill Kill” or “Roots Rockn’ Roll” to define the album, and the final result feels less vital than before.

The one surprise on Gotta Get Up Now is “JR”, an loving ode to a son. The song is arranged and performed like traditional country, but using their standard punk instruments and vocalization. It’s an unusual take on the increasingly common punk-turned-country song, though Miret will need to make his voice sound a little more serious if he plans to sustain goodwill for this style beyond this one song. I’m glad to see them experimenting with new sounds, though. The band still has a lot of potential, but needs to find new things to say if they are going to stay as important as they used to be.

Grade: C+

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  1. April 21st, 2011

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