Public Access – Fleeced (CD)

I should have realized that Public Access was going to have some semblance of ska in their general formula after seeing that there were two saxophonists in the band, but I expected something different given the Thought Riot meets Strike Anywhere vocals of the band to start off “Hit Single”. The ska breakdowns are interesting to say the least, and tremendous kudos needs to be given to Public Access in actually finding a way to go about incorporating a brand of hardcore punk with the uptempo beats of a more current brand of ska. Throughout this EP, especially on “Piss On Pity”, there seems to be a wholescale move away from the idea that punk has to necessarily equal brain-dead and simplistic arrangements; the band (especially the sax/guitar dynamic) seems to top itself on each track with more trying and complex sounds. While the band seems to take minor hints of influence from bands as diverse as Leftover Crack, the Dead Kennedys and Against Me!, there is something innovative and new during each of the tracks on “Fleeced” that make each track something that is Public Access’s own.

Perhaps it is the fact that the band has been making music since 2000, but each track has a certain polished nature to it that would allow Public Access to pretty much find a worthy home on any of a number of “punk” record labels, whether it be Alternative Tentacles, Hell-Cat or A-F. “Another Day In Paradise” rides a wonderful groove that seems to draw a little bit of seventies’ rock to the equation, even as two distinct sets of vocals and vocal-like saxophones vie for a dominant position. The sax solo that provides the beginning of an end to “Another Day In Paradise” may just be the most impressive I’ve ever heard a horn. “Dead Sexy” moves back from the crustier, California-baked “Paradise” into something that resembles the mid-nineties Epitaph-heavy punk rock scene and can be chalked up as yet another victory for Public Access. The hair-metal/Bad Religion-like guitar solo that is extended through a large part of the track can be enjoyed by all, and really begs the question when Public Access will be able to go and record a full length. It will be a surprise if the band does not get serious consideration by the mid-majors in the next few years, as Public Access provides listeners with some of the most inspired and near-perfect slices of punk/hardcore/ska music ever.

Top Track: Another Day In Paradise

Rating: 8.6/10

Public Access – Fleeced / 2005 Pocketful of Change / 6 Tracks / http://www.we-dont-suck .com / Reviewed 09 September 2005

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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