Boundaries no longer exist in music. Geo-centric scenes went out with flannel, giving way to a world in which young, but well-traveled punks from Wisconsin can trade in their adolescent angst for no-frills American rock without even raising a few eyebrows.
Such is the case with The Obsoletes, whose recent debut album Is This Progress? proves that great rock can come from anywhere, at any time. Comprised of 13 tracks (including a cover of The Replacements’ “PO Box”), the album maintains a fairly tight focus on rock fundamentals, weaving country, blues and pop into the mix.
This rough-and-ragged blend has rightfully drawn comparisons to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and The Obsoletes’ occasional hooks and harmonies have prompted some to liken the band’s sound to some of the classic power-pop acts of the ‘70s. Is This Progress? is perhaps guilty of missing opportunities to layer its sound a little more richly, but the minimal tinkering that’s done serves the songs well.
Not surprisingly, The Obsoletes aren’t the first to have their punk ethic manifest itself in a more country-rock vain. They are part of growing trend of hardcore sorts who have become acutely aware of the ‘suburbification’ of punk rock, and are subsequently digging deeper to uncover the last bastion of purity in music.
Artists like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Sr., Wilco and even Mr. Petty have played a significant role in prompting bands like The Obsoletes, Drag The River and Against Me to carry the torch for the common man.
The Obsoletes might have been raised on beer and cheese, but the trio’s sound is best served with a double-tall bourbon, neat. Find out for yourself this Friday when The Obsoletes play the Climax Lounge in Denver.