The Lawrence Arms. The Falcon. Playing bass. Singing songs. Brendan Kelly does it all, and does it pretty well. Recently, Kelly admitted during the past few years he’d “played punk rock as well as he was able to do it”. A nod towards a new sound? Then in a blink, he served up I’d Rather Die Than Live Forever, the debut LP from Brendan Kelly and The Wandering Birds.
It’s not your typical punk record. It’s all over the map, stylistically and lyrically. It’s a dark, humorously violent soundtrack for some sort of blacked out snuff film. And that’s not to discredit it as a joke. It’s a strange, rambling diary that feels trapped, scared and bent into some oddly uncompromising positions. But none of it feels phoned in one bit.
Eleven songs stretch a tad over thirty excellent minutes. It sounds like Social D fist fighting with the Stones in a basement-turned studio someplace far away. Just a room full of instruments, a few bottles of booze and a tape recorder. Don’t leave until you get your fill.