The Urinals – What is Real and What is Not CD
Warning Label Records
The Urinals have their own little niche in punk history. They were an influence to some and helped create a little scene of their own on the outskirts of the “big” punk scene in Los Angeles that got all the recognition. That resulted in them flying under the radar of a lot of punk kids growing up who missed out on their unique style of minimalist, low-fi, art punk. As The Urinals progressed, they started writing longer songs, and songs that had more traditional structures. This resulted in them changing their name to 100 Flowers to have a new name to match their new direction. Now some 20 years after 100 Flowers called it a day, the trio who started their punk career at The Urinals decided to give it another go and write a new album.
Much like the musicians themselves, the music of this new Urinals has also done the same. The songs are noticeably longer and the song structures are much more traditional. Long gone are the days where they would take one chord and make an entire song around it, this time out the sound is much more akin to what they were doing as 100 Flowers. The songs are off-kilter pop songs, often melodic, but some of them still retain a bit of a punch. In rare instances a little bit of the past minimalist sound can be heard in some of the guitar parts, but very little and it really sounds almost like an entirely different band. Some of this really takes me back to a time in the mid 1980s when some hardcore bands were changing their sound and playing what was then known as “college rock”; melodic enough to be more accessible by a wider audience than would typically accept punk rock, yet still edgy and “cool” enough to not be mainstream. For what it is, it is a pretty enjoyable listen, especially the harder edged songs, but don’t pick this up expecting a sequel to the first three singles. That aside, it is still infinitely more interesting than half of what is being released these days by newer bands.