STREAM: D.O.A. - "He's Got A Gun" (hosted on PunkNews.org)
While I’ve “been in the room” for a few shows that D.O.A. played in Washington, DC in the 80’s, I don’t think I’ve ever focused on the band’s music. These shows always seemed to bring out the “boot boys” who were always looking to give someone a beat-down so my focus at these shows was on making sure that I wasn’t their next target. So…35 years and 14 albums into their career, We Come in Peace is my first real exposure to D.O.A.’s music. Not having any history with the band, it is interesting to have read the Wikipedia quote about being “founders of hardcore” prior to listening to this disc as the current lineup of D.O.A. sounds closer to the punk-rock/roots-reggae hybrid of Rancid than the aggressive hardcore of Black Flag and Bad Brains.
For anyone who needs a primer on D.O.A. (like I did), D.O.A. seems to have an ever-changing lineup centered on guitar/vocalist Joey ‘Shithead’ Keithley. For We Come In Peace, Keithley is joined by Dan Yaremko and J.J. Heath and this new disc was released on Keithley’s Sudden Death label at the end of July. The fourteen songs on this disc include an acoustic remake of “General Strike”, which was first released by the band in the early 80’s, a cover of The Beatles’ “Revolution” and a cover of Toxic Reasons’ “War Hero”.
Over the years, I’ve read a bit about D.O.A. taking the stage for a range of causes which have ranged from some of the early Rock against Reagan protests to, more recently, some of the Canadian “Occupy” protests and Keithley’s leftist beliefs and ‘take action’ outlook (Talk - Action = 0) dominates the lyrical themes on this disc. The disc opens with the melodic rocker “He’s Got a Gun” which has a big chorus and more hooks than an old-school Misfits tune. The catchy riffs almost hide the poignant lyrics of a nut with a “fever to use that gun” influenced by “a tea party” and “smear talk media”.
“Boneyard”, which is the disc’s second cut, is a hardcore number with some guitar work that sounds like it could have come off one of the early Dead Kennedys album. The band continues to mix things up with “Dirty Bastards”, which sounds like a Flogging Molly-style ragged but right chant-along number – complete with bagpipes. The band continues to dip back into the melodic hardcore sing-along numbers (“Do You Wanna”, Who the Hell Do You Think You Are”) but take a radically different direction with “Lost Souls”, which is a mellow LA-cowpunk/roots number where Joey sounds David Johansen fronting the Dream Syndicate.
Some of the other standout numbers include the roots-reggae of “War Hero” and the ska-punk of “We Occupy” which features Jello Biafra on guest vocals. While I’m not familiar with the electric version of “General Strike”, this new acoustic version is a nice way to wide down the disc.