My Scrapbook Of Fatal Accidents

It's amazing how little American hardcore has evolved over the years....

It’s amazing how little American hardcore has evolved over the years. ‘Insider’, [a]Ten Foot Pole[/a]’s fourth album, could easily have been made by Agent Orange in 1981. There’s the breakneck pace, whiplash drums, lunatic surf guitar. And the angst. Oh yes, the [I]angst[/I].

Accordingly, [a]Ten Foot Pole[/a] thrash out tantrum anthems of disaffected youth just like – well, your dad used to like, probably. Railing invective against cops (‘The Getaway’), girls (‘This Is But A Test’) and how much parents suck (‘Still Knee Deep’), breaking new thematic territory is clearly not a concern.

They do, however, inject the hardcore template with a friendly pop sensibility that, if taken to extremes, would turn them into Green Day. Singer Dennis Jagard‘s vocals lean more towards skatepunk cuteness than screamy nihilism, and self-aware humour gives otherwise unremarkable speedcore like ‘Officer I Swear She’s 19’ a dumb charm.

Perhaps it’s folly to expect a genre based on blind rebellion, kamikaze hormones, and the wilful annoyance of anyone over 30 to change its tune. [a]Ten Foot Pole[/a] aren’t likely to spearhead a new direction. They play it fast, they play it loud, they play it the same way it was played almost two decades ago. But sometimes that’s enough. Take Dennis Jagard‘s advice to “ignore the brain”, and you might enjoy ‘Insider’‘s visceral punch.