(HED) P.E. releases a solidly decent album with Class of 2020 (Suburban Noize Records). The band, hailing from Southern California, truly embodies the eclectic skater vibe of the area. The album is a mix of rock, funk, and rap. Jared Gomes, Jeremiah Stratton, Kurt Blankenship, DJ Blackard, and Chad Benekos are a tight outfit, and Class of 2020 has no wasted riffage.
‘First Blood’ as an opening track presents the listener with Jared’s growly screaming over some basic rhythms by Kurt and Jeremiah. The rhythms may be basic but there are multiple ones. It’s a wonderous polyphonic composition. It reminds one of an American Russkaja. ‘Watch It Burn’ is an R- rated spoken word. At 45 seconds in I stopped the track. The N-word is dropped then the next verse proceeded to call a woman a female dog and talk about their nether regions. Nope. I tapped out. Only slightly better is ‘Greed Girl’, a moist, ratchet ode to an interestingly described woman that the author adores.
The album overall has a great Body Count / Suicidal Tendencies / Korn feel. ‘No Days Off’ has a good grove. The melody is hypnotic. ‘Death Awaits’ puts you in a powerful circle pit mood. While ‘Ole Time Sake (All Over Now)’ is a party tune. Play it loud. ‘Ole time Sake (All Over Now)’ reminds one of beer pong in a hot sweaty dank basement bar. It’s the perfect song to share with your mates. That being said, the song does reminds me of the classic musicals of the 50s and 60s – when people broke into song for no good reason. Think something choreographed by Jerome Robbins or Agnes de Mille.
Juxtaposed on Class of 2020 are ‘Nothing Lasts 4ever’, a classic English pub song, and ‘We the People’, a dense and dark rap song. ‘Nothing Lasts 4ever is about the Coronavirus. The music is cute and fun while the lyrics, very sing-a-long-able, are relatable and thought-provoking. ‘We the People’ sounds muddy like you are listening through gauze. The timbre exudes a sense of foreboding. The listener feels an agitated tension throughout. The production choice definitely accentuates the song.
The best two songs on Class of 2020 are arguably ‘Last Call’ and ‘Overdue’. ‘Last Call’ is a slow just behind the beat reggae funk composition. It can best be described as sultry. The best part of the song for me is Kurt’s wicked bass line. The bridge is a rotating metal cylinder with pins plucking a steel comb music box coil of wonder. It’s like having a deep head high and you are just inside your mind. It is a most complex composition. ‘Overdue’ is an interesting hybrid of early David Bowie and the Spiders from Mars, Pink Floyd, and Korn. I swear, at times Jared sounds like David Bowie. It’s creepy and eerie and devilishly pleasing.
Class of 2020 is a classic sounding (HED) P.E. album. Long-time fans of the band won’t be disappointed. Purchase and stream “Class of 2020” here: https//www.fanlink.to/classof2020
6 / 10