You don't have to listen very long to recognize a few key elements of 1984, the new release by Roger Miret and the Disasters, led by the frontman of New York hardcore legends Agnostic Front. As with the band's 2002 S/T debut record, Miret's classic punk rock influence on his "other" band's style is obvious, and he sets aside the hardcore to explore other avenues. If you like The Business, Dropkick Murphys, and Rancid, there is a lot for you to like here, too.
1984 is a package delivering classic oi! punk rock licks. Hearing it is like finding some old record you bought in the 80's and dusting it off to listen to it again (mind you, the mixing and sound quality are much better than that of grubby vinyl). The songs might be a little slower than old style punk, but all the same requisite characteristics are there, even the more stereotypical ones. Some of the song titles are downright cheesy. "Hooligans", "The Boys", and "Riot, Riot, Riot" - these same titles have been used for many other countless punk rock songs. But that doesn't make them any less fun. If Roger Miret is anything, he's a punk rock purist. The classic feel is addictive, and a welcome break from the auditory overload of many recent "punk" albums. The mastering is a little cleaner than we're generally used to hearing in the Oi! Punk genre, but I don't feel it takes away from the overall enjoyment.
The testosterone content in some of the tracks gets almost comical, especially in "I Don't Like You", with the lyrics "Fuck you - I hate you / Fuck off! Fuck you! / ... / I don't give a damn what you think of me / Don't really give a fuck 'cause I don't like you!" I couldn't help but laugh and sing along when this one came on. I have to admit it, I'm a sucker for a good anthem, and this album is full of them. Some songs will evoke images of Rancid, other times, you'd swear it was an intro to a Dropkick Murphys song. But once you hear Roger's signature voice, the songs take on a life of their own. Even the obligatory track in adoration of New York City is good fun. Basically, this album has some quality punk, but definitely nothing revolutionary or ground breaking. But given the influences in this band, they wouldn't have their punk served up any other way.