Brooklyn punks Cerebral Ballzy are back with their second full-length album 'Jaded & Faded', released via Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas' Cult Records. 'Jaded & Faded' follows 2011's self-titled debut, which established Cerebral Ballzy as a solid, throwback to 80s, hardcore punk collective in the vein of Black Flag, Bad Brains, Circle Jerks etc. This is thanks to frontman Honor Titus spitting his angry lyrics as well as fun, simple, distorted riffs provided by Mason and Jason Bannon.
What's clear from listening to 'Jaded & Faded' is that Cerebral Ballzy are wanting to dip their toes into other sub-genres of punk as opposed to just sticking to hardcore. 'Fake I.D.' has a strong post-punk feel to it with guitar noodling and dizzy vocals, but the attacking riff at the end will keep die-hard listeners in their comfort zone. 'Better In Leather' is Ramones-esque pop-punk with upbeat, yet still distorted, guitars and Titus' carefree repetition of 'she's so rad'. Plus, there's some softer female indie vocals on the song which makes for a strong counterpart to Titus. 'Lonely As America' is another post-punk number, that utilizes guitar feedback well in the bridge, making it the most intensely slow burning song on the album, yet one that still has some speedy moments.
This isn't to say that Cerebral Ballzy have abandoned hardcore - not one bit. 'Downtown' is fast and fuzzy with a really gripping bridge; fiercly pounding drums, a lower riff and Titus moaning 'Under the big lights' over and over again. 'Parade Of Idiots' harks back to Black Flag's early EPs, marrying sarcasm with intense anger. Opener 'Another Day' opens with a sinister riff that soon takes a jumpy turn; when the song slows down, you don't see it coming in the slightest, which helps the faster repetition pack more punch.
'Jaded & Faded' is far from being a punk milestone, but it's not trying to be. Cerebral Ballzy are just happy to play punk music and wear their influences on their sleeves. However, their ability to take parts of various punk sub-genres and make them flow effortlessly with their previous elements, coupled with their catchy, groovy song writing makes Cerebral Ballzy a stand out gem in the world of retro punk.
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