Muted and quiet compared to their performance, The Retainers still retain that punk nature, even down to the loud, hating-of-authority lead singer. Running over the guitar lines like the earliest days of Darby Crash’s music, The Retailers play a short, succinct style of punk rock. Overly distorted guitars lead the tracks, being as present as the vocals – the drums hide themselves throughout the tracks. “For The Rich U Die” is another track that falls into the same formula that The Retainers rigidly find themselves, and while the tracks are by no means repetitive each following track makes me hope that the band takes a hard left towards more green pastures. The recording on Captive Audience is more than a little compressed and holds back the band from achieving a more faithful reproduction of their live personae.
“Wish I Was Ron jeremy” injects some much-needed humor and derivations from the strict formula that fuels The Retainers through all of Captive Audience. While the guitars are similar to other fare on the disc, the vocals are spat out in a way that infuses more harmony into the disc. “Punks Not Dead” is not a cover of the classic Exploited track, but rather another anthemic track with the same title. A crowd-pleaser to be sure, the track allows for many in the audience to shout out the title with the same vitrolic furor as we find it on the disc. The staggered nature of the guitars on the track shows that the band is experimentative, and could go in a different direction at any possible moment. Blasting through their eight cuts in record time, “Captive Audience” ends with the same intensity as it has started.
“Anti Heros” is reminiscent of the earliest days of punk, while “Beer Song” is a simple, head-bopping track in the vein of Circle Jerks or Dead Kennedys. While the later tracks are nowhere as catchy as the initial blasts on “Captive Audience”, each track is done with a style that is not immediately recognizable as being aped from some flavor of the week. “Hot Sweet Ass” is a deceptive track, with a new-found fury that is matched nowhere else on the disc. The Retainers are just another example of a Central Ohio-area band walking to the beat of another drummer and really succeeding where others have failed in years past.
Top Track: Anti Heros
The Retainers – Captive Audience / 2004 Self-Released / 8 Tracks