Wow, I had heard of Roger Miret but never really heard eir – apparently ey was the former lead singer of Agnostic Front, and yet I can hear what ey is singing. Simply fucking fantabulous! This even sounds like a mixture of the Street Dogs and LES Stitches, so RMatD have two things going for them before their first song, “Loud and Proud” ends. “Riot, Riot, Riot” gains its immense power from the Rancid-esque guitar lines that are present through the disc, even if they do sound a little canned at the moments when they interfere with Miret’s voice. Each track on “1984” is an immediate street-punk anthem, a perfect soundtrack for the hot summer days when absolutely nothing is happening and your crew is walking around the city. “The Boys” weakly stumbles out of the gate, but is saved by the guitar solo on the track. Moving into oi territory with “Turncoat” (not the Anti-Flag song), the simplistic shouted-out vocals by Roger and strong presence again by the guitars lead into an all-sung chorus. Going back to The Clash for influences makes for a good track (typically) and “Lower East Side’s” Keith Levine-esque guitar riffs mixes admirably with Miret’s vocals.
Roger and The Distaster’s influences are not limited to those in punk rock; rather, a little of the Gin Blossoms (Hey Jealousy) sneaks in to “Hooligans”. What is one of RmatD’s strongest suit is the continual turnover in influences, which means a track like “Street Rock N Roll” can be rockabilly-influenced and another track can be pure punk rock without any ideological conflicts. One of the most fun openings to a song (and chorus, too) exists in “I Don’t Like You”; “Fuck you, I hate you, Fuck off, Fuck you”. In the 1:18 that “I Don’t Like You” lasts, RMatD have created the track that will be on everyone’s lips the second they start playing it.
“1984” is the most solid streetpunk album since the aforementioned L.E.S. Stitches’ Staja98LES, which was quite a few years ago. I’ve honestly never been a huge fan of Agnostic Front, but RMatD have created an album in “1984” that is truly one for the ages. The mastering and production may not be a big issue to many people, but the knob-tweaker on “1984” was smart enough to let Roger Miret’s trembling voice, eir humanity come through in full force. This humanity is why I think everyone reading this should pick up the album.
Top Tracks: Janie Hawk, Turncoat
Roger Miret and the Disasters – 1984 / 2005 Hellcat Records / 13 Tracks / http://www.thedisasters.com / http://www.hell-cat.com / Reviewed 27 January 2005