I believe the quintessential feature of rock’n’roll is rebellion, and the fundamental element of punk is indignation. My diminishing amount of rebellion has lead me to seek out less rock bands, but my growing indignation over the state of the world has caused me to seek out talented, angry punk bands.
They’re increasingly difficult to come by in this entertainment-seeking age. When you’re only trying to entertain yourself, it greatly decreases the amount of topics that you care enough about to become indignant over. Our culture is anti-punk.
Thankfully, The One Through Tens have indignation to spare. It oozes out of their funk-informed sound and into the title of their album: Fighting for a Golden Age. The One Through Tens are not taking this sitting down.
And by funk, I don’t mean Parliament/Funkadelic. I mean Rage Against The Machine-style, angry white boy funk. The band sets in with it on track two (“Dyin’ Blues,” naturally), and keeps it as a vital element of the sound for the entire album. There is some punk riffing here, in “Run From Your Master” and the Offspring-esque title track, but the punk is mostly upheld by the sneering, impassioned vocals and the swagger with which the whole thing is pulled off.
In fact, the songs are more often than not slow. Some are even slow and quiet. But they never let up the intensity, no matter what the music sounds like. Whether it’s stomping out some Queens of the Stone Age-style rock on “Crazy For You,” fuzzing out for a stoner rock trip in “Religious Fervor” or impersonating RATM on highlight “So Damn Sad,” this band is a punk band through and through.
Fighting for a Golden Age is a stellar punk release in an era that isn’t conducive to those. The understanding that the band members were swimming upstream to make this album reinforces the power and maturity of this release. Isn’t that what punk is supposed to be about?