As a former member of a band who were described in one review as ‘putting the fun back into pretentiousness’ it might be fair to say that fast-played, melodic pop-punk might be a genre that, in most of its contemporary guises, doesn’t do much for me (writes Andy Wood). And yet, here I am, about to extoll the virtues of Delinquents debut album, About Last Night. Yeah, I hear you, damn you and your inconsistences!
For me though, Delinquents stand out from the pack. They have a nice way around a melody and while the mood can be dark and angry there’s also a lovely sense of energy and a black humour at play as well. The band they most call to mind, for me, are The Replacements. They don’t sound like a tribute to Westerberg and co. but share the same irreverence for strict genre boundaries along with po-faced scenesters who act as gatekeepers and fundamentalist keepers of the faith. Within twenty-odd minutes the ten songs embrace post-hardcore bursts of fury with anthemic songs. For sure, Delinquents have their influences worn proudly on their sleeves but give them a bit of a roughing up to make things sound fresh and definitely their own.
‘Ctr Alt Def’ opens the album with a punishing riff and some sweet hooks. It’s punchy and catchy getting the album off the mark at a frenetic pace. ‘ACNE’ is another bruiser of a song with a theme of self-loathing in the lyric ‘I don’t wanna to be like me / I don’t wanna see what everybody sees / Is it so hard to believe / That I can’t stand me?’. ‘Not Your Problem’ is fast and furious, drawing on U.S. hardcore without chucking away its raw tunefulness, battering you with a coruscating, paint peeling sound.
‘Keep On Chokin’’ is pretty beguiling. The sound is more delicate but only relatively after ‘Not Your Problem’. It begins with a buoyant guitar that calls to mind Johnny Marr’s playing in The Smiths – really fluid and melodic. It’s my favourite song on the album, a really driving sound, subtle but robust with great lyrics as well. Less subtle but no less effective is the acoustic ‘The Fuck You Song’ which is already a bit of a favourite at live shows. It’s Delinquents ‘Unsatisfied’, both articulate and inarticulate, railing at the world while confessing ‘I’m not cool and I never will be.’ The premise in the title sounds potentially nihilist but the song is more about finding, however faltering, your own voice, your route and way in life.
‘Valentines’ is a full-throttle raucous song taking a pop at that genius of marketing, modern romance. It’s equal parts snotty – ‘I hate Valentines day’ – and tender – ‘Baby please don’t tell me you’re lonely’ with some great shifts in pace. ‘Never Gonna Fit In’ has a great sense of flow combined with a chugging rhythm and a lyrical return to the alienation of ‘ACNE’. It has a big pop feel to it, epic and infectious, shifting throughout in mood and tempo. ‘Something To Prove’ is fierce and furious and brings to mind Motorhead with its thundering riff and rhythm and a rare guitar solo, that’s concise and effective. ‘Waste Of Time’ has a Gothic feel to the introduction and verses combined with a more anthemic, uplifting chorus. It’s a beautifully balanced song, taut and melodic with some great interplay between the instruments.
‘Next Generation’ brings things to close with its angry words and a chorus that will have radio producers reaching for the red pen at it’s impassioned howl of ‘What are we gonna do? What are we gonna say? Raise our middle fingers and say fuck you!’ ‘Next Generation’ brings things to a clattering halt as About Last Night ends in possibly impotent outrage with the thought that the next generation may be raging against the same injustices and fighting similar battles as their predecessors. Still, there’s a nice power in being able to still say ‘fuck you’ to it all.
About Last Night is, for me, a success, standing out on its own merits. It’s a damn fine record. Short, sharp and totally on-point with no excess fat or unnecessary additives. Delinquents sound like a band who will kick in your door, annoy the neighbours and make a mess before disappearing into the night. However, they will then appear on your doorstep the next day with guilty looks on their faces and offer to help clean up. Delinquents, good fun for serious times.
David Hennessy answered a few questions on life as a Delinquent and tells us all About Last Night.
Who are Delinquents and how to did you come to be Delinquents?
We are three pals from Dundee, Graeme Jackson who plays Bass/Guitar and Ryan who is the drummer. Jackson and I were always looking to start another band and we tried with various folk until we brought Ryan in and it just fitted so well!
Can you tell us a bit about the writing and recording of your debut album, About Last Night?
It was recorded in Seagate, Dundee with Graeme Watt who was a great influence in the studio sound. We recorded it live albeit in bits from November 2016 as we released ‘Next Generation’ then and we recorded the rest around April/May time this year.
What inspired the title?
The 80’s film ha ha!….To be honest, I think to be honest the album’s ‘concept’ is just about being young, stupid and feeling a bit misunderstood. Probably about waking up with the fear and texting those words to whoever you pissed off the night before.
The album cover is very different from a lot of contemporary Punk covers. How did you settle on the cover and what does it say about you all as a band?
Sean Pryor ,who is a cartoon artist based in Philadelphia, designed the actual artwork and Paul Davies put the artwork together for the release. They did an incredible job. We settled on the idea of us being under a broken lemonade stand in Clatto Park looking incredibly hungover. It paints the picture of our faces the night after any of our shows. Broken.
How does it feel to have the album out in the world? What has the response been so far?
In a word insane. To have these songs out that we have played all over the country in the last year and a half on a release on a label is mindblowing. Not bad for three gadgies from Dundee!
You self-released the album. How did you go about that and how did you find the process?
We recorded it ourselves but Violated Records released it for us. The legendary Pat Society released it on his label and took the punt on us!
What does Punk mean in 2017?
Ummm….’Express yourself freely, just don’t be a dick’
What has been the highlight of being Delinquents so far?
I honestly would say playing Rebellion. We met some good pals down there and discovered one of my favourite bands and now friends ‘Criminal Mind’ but Punktoberfest in Dundee is always a highlight.
Given your propensity for self-deprecation, any low points?
Probably spilling beer in Ryan’s car. It was pretty tragic.
What does the line ‘Fraser isn’t even my name’ refer to in ‘The Fuck You Song’? It throws me every time I hear it.
Fraser is a good friend of mines from when we worked together in the supermarket juggernaut that will remain nameless. This one manager would keep getting us mixed up, which got on my nerves. I was like 23 when I’d written the song so it was a mixture of references of feeling lost and just wanting break out in the van playing tunes.
If you could put together your own show or festival, with money, distance and mortality no barriers, where would you hold it and who would you invite to play?
In a nutshell: Camperdown Park, Dundee. Green Day, The Replacements, Stiff Little Fingers, The Offspring.
What do the coming months hold for Delinquents?
The possibility of a 7’’ and two new songs, some more gigs, some free shows in Dundee, another Rebellion appearance and lastly, write this second album.
What question would you most like to be asked? And what would your response be?
Were you in School of Rock? And the response is yes.
Anything else you would like to add?
About Last Night is available as download or CD. Check out https://www.facebook.com/delinquentsdundee/ for more information
Here’s one of the singles from the album: