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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Middle Class - Homeland

Released : 1982
Genre : Hardcore Punk, Punk Rock
Label : Pulse Records
Producer(s) : Middle Class, Paul Cutler

Middle Class were always one of my fave LA bands and probably a band few people heard of anyway. They didn't have a big-mouth headman like Darby and didn't dress punk or anything, just plain looking no fashion so nobody picked up on them even though they played a lot and did some great music... The 'Out of Vogue' EP came out on Joke Records in 1978 and the funny thing is here's a thrash band 3-4 years before its time. I play songs like "You Belong" and "Insurgence" for people and they refuse to believe it's from 4 years ago, I mean it sounds like all the new bands. Grinding one-minute songs with an intense Discharge/Crass/Nihilistics sound... Two cuts on the 'Tooth and Nail' compilation followed in 1979, a great record that also included Germs, Flesheaters, UXA, Negative Trend, and Controllers... In 1980 the 'Scavanged Luxury" EP was released on Torture Garden (great name!). Uhoh, here's where the changes started, well not really, this was just as intense but a progression from their older sound, heavier on the bass and a more driving rhythm at a steady tempo not the 78rpm of the past and a much greater interest in instrumentation. Another great overlooked record... Finally the album, something I've looked forward to for a long time and, yeah well, the sound has changed a lot since the early days and I can't really blame them. Still, this record has the same distinctive Middle Class feel, maybe it's because of Jeff Atta's vocals. It continues devoloping the style of the last EP but its a lot more mellow and introspective, the cover and music bring to mind bands like the Cure, Joy Divison and the Banshees, I hope they don't mind those comparisons, studied I know but... A great bass sound and cutting guitars propelled along by a steady drumbeat. And the vocals have a far away sound that creates a quiet somber mood. Lyrics become more than words, a strange feeling, that strikes hard. "Out of My Hands", "Ritual and Deceit", "A Skeleton at the Feast"... I like listening to this album sometimes but I still miss the old Middle Class. Maybe they went too far.

Tracks

1. The Call
2. A Skeleton at the Feast
3. Out of My Hands
4. Listen
5. Shaken
6. Mosque
7. Restless Young Men
8. Ritual and Deceit
9. Everything


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