An acquaintance of mine said recently, “Punk’s not dead, but it’s definitely middle-aged.” Someone forgot to tell The Briggs, though. Brothers Jason and Joey LaRocca and drummer Chris X have turned out an EP of music that hearkens back to the good old days. Produced by Joe Gittelman (of Avoid One Thing and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones), Leaving the Ways is the Briggs’ first release on SideOneDummy Records, after the independent release Is This What You Believe and Numbers, produced by pro skateboarder and U.S. Bombs member Duane Peters.
Leaving the Ways only has six songs on it, but manages to show off quite a range in spite of its brevity. The Briggs are heir to a long tradition that started with the Clash, and it is one which they celebrate and carry on quite well. I put the CD in on my way to work at 7 am and by the end of the first track had the volume cranked up and was singing along.
“One Shot Down” is pure fun, while “Waiting in the Shadows,” “All On Me,” and “Dungeon Walls” have the insistent feel of a band with something to say. The anthemic “Song for Us” is a reminder of the days when punk rock really meant something. It clearly still does to these guys, as they end with the ever-present snipe at radio pop, “Top 40,” sung to a funked-up dub beat. Joey LaRocca’s voice is his own, not an imitation of anyone, and the band’s sound is practiced but not polished.
If you long for more music to scream along to and pump your fist with, the Briggs may be just what you’re looking for.