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These days there aren't too many bands around that can claim to extol the principles of the punk movement of the late 70's. The genre is littered with artists that are content to write songs about girls, parties and minor class drugs. Step forward, the U.S. Bombs, a band that have always been purveyors of quality street punk with a political slant. 'Covert Action' is their fourth release on Hellcat, and is full of politically informed songs that will not only get your body moving, but will also make you think. "I don't give two fucks what anybody thinks", proclaims front man Duane Peters, "we're real punk rockers."
The album kicks off in ferocious fashion, with the anthemic 'Roll Around', a track that showcases the speed and musical style of the band to great effect. In fact this song echoes much of the bands earlier, and, some would say superior work. 'Shot Down' follows in a similar vein; brutal, melodic and infectious in equal parts. 'In and Out', though, is a clear standout track from a musical point of view. It features a superb chorus and will have you jumping around like a loon.
However, despite the musical talent, it is the subject matter of the songs that make this band who they are. 'Framed' takes a look at the Oklahoma bombing, and points the finger of blame squarely at the American government. On 'Lab Rats' the band attack the controversial area of experimental science. 'John Gotti' sees Peters displaying his typical disdain for the ruling classes, suggesting that the Mob would have more success running the White House.
Despite the very generic nature of street punk, this album also sees the band branching out musically on a couple of tracks. 'Art Kills' sees the band reviving the spirit and style of 80's hardcore acts. It is 'The Gow', however, that marks the biggest departure. This track has the band moving into ska territory at points, something they do with ease, and that also adds a great deal to the song.
'Covert Action' marks something of a return to form for the Bombs, after a couple of disappointing releases. It is a very respectable slice of street punk, and one that stays true to the ideals of what used to be called punk rock. Peters' lyrics are, as usual, very politically informed, and, even if you don't agree with the views on offer, this musical recipe should still be appetising to most fans of the genre.