To those not deeply involved in the independent-music side of catchy, sing-along punk rock, there can seem to be only two aspects: the geriatric (or deceased) '70s artists such as Iggy, Johnny and Joey -- whose music can now be heard in corporate commercials -- and the post-Dookie world of cookie-cutter mall-punk bands. Yet much of Generation X grew up in the mid- to late '80s and early '90s, and the meat in the sandwich for them are the melodic punk bands who held up the genre during those neglected years: Government Issue, Bad Religion, Naked Raygun, etc.
Pittsburgh band Shiver recognize the period, and essentially pay tribute to it on this disc of 13 swift-paced, chunka-chunka originals which are so faithful that they sound much like songs the above bands could have written. How can one listen to "Voice of Treason," for example, and not think of Naked Raygun's "Treason"?
However, Shiver does provide a glimmer of hope with a vision of unity that still seems remotely possible ("I believe in youth energy, dreaming everything that you wanna be"). The disc offers life advice, too, on the shout-along closer "One Life": "You never compromise what you believe / You've gotta look deep inside yourself, it's a value they can't see."
With sentiments like these, it's surprising Shiver isn't on Anti-Flag's label, but you gotta commend Pittsburgh's other underground institution -- Da' Core Records -- for stepping beyond its hardcore roots and gathering together the solid, veteran parts of Pittsburgh's punk scene. Wherever this message is heard -- whether on the Warped Tour or on the stages of tiny bars across the Midwest -- it's clearly backed by Shiver's strident commitment to convey meaning across the generation gap. With the release of Last Rides, punk is fun, powerful and consequential again.