The moment you realize this album could have easily been a complete killed by death sampler or some non-existent CRISIS, WIRE, WARSAW demo hybrid recording from 1977…
NEW BERLIN started out as a one man project in TEXAS. Indeed, the 13-track, 24-minute affair is the stuff that ’80s indie dance nights are made of. The McAllen-based trio — founded by Michael Flanagan, Gustavo Martinez, and Andrew Richardson — cut a rug with ringing guitars, frantic bass lines, and hyperactive drums, sounding like a particularly nervous SMITHS trying to impress John Peel.
What should i say? This is a stripped down, bare bones, fucking perfect record. Hardcore Punk, perfectly introduces you to what this band is all about: worn down and beaten vocals speakin’ honestly, accompanied by anarcho-bass lines and awkward guitar sounds. All-in-all, it all just comes together beautifully.
Personally, I feel it meshes best in Fan Boy, my personal favorite track that always leads to graceless head-bouncin’. It’s got the sound, the energy, the recording and the attitude. NEW BERLIN brings influences from a host of punk sub-genres together to the year 2016 and made a instant brilliant classic for my ears. If you’re already a fan you know what to expect: deceptively simple but supremely catchy songwriting, spare arrangements, and memorable vocals that somehow sound remarkably British despite the singer being South American.
I’d say that NEW BERLIN lack the looseness, weirdness, and sense of experimentation of the original UK DIY bands. Perhaps it’s just the limitations of the play time, but taken together these tracks sound like pretty straightforward punk to me, and the combination of minimalist production and upbeat, simple pop songs reminds me almost as much of a Billy Childish-type record as it does tot he Desperate Bicycles or the Television Personalities.
That’s certainly not meant as a slight so much as a warning that this is way more straightforward and way more punk rock than all of the UKDIY descriptions of this record seem to indicate. Definitely a banger of a 12“ though, and no one will regret forking down their twelve bucks for this.