While Direct Hit! is known for their catchy brand of grit infused pop punk, they would probably be the last band anyone would expect to make a concept album. Most surprising, the concept actually works.
It seems that in 2013 more and more punk bands are pushing the envelope with their songwriting. Between Off With Their Heads’ “Home,” and Captain, We’re Sinking’s “The Future is Canceled,” it seems that these “orgcore,” and “beard and beers” bands are breaking the mold and proving they can create albums with a sense of purpose accompanied by great songwriting. Direct Hit! may have just solidified that previous statement with their latest effort, “Brainless God.”
Punk can be a difficult genre to tackle as far as songwriting goes. If bands do too much, people won’t listen; if bands keep things the same it will just blend in with the rest of the bands. “Brainless God,” Direct Hit! takes basic punk chords and hooks and throws them in the middle of a church choir. The melody in the first track “On & On” sounds like it came straight from a hymn in church and is repeated in other tracks “Heaven is a Black Hole,” and “A Message to the Angels Pt. II.” It gives the record some clarity and flow and if you put lyrical content aside, the concept is still there.
The concept behind “Brainless God,” is a ode to the apocalypse and the religion that is proclaiming it. Lyrically, it’s very straight forward with very few instances of metaphor or symbolism; but the most important aspect is that it is still a Direct Hit! record. What that means is that this album is fun, a lot of fun. The production is much cleaner than their previous releases, but the more polished production allows the listener to fully take in the story that is being told.
Direct Hit! took a big gamble putting out a concept album in the punk community. Aside from few exceptions (See: The Lawrence Arms’ “The Greatest Story Ever Told”) concept albums in any genre can be a tough feat to tackle. Direct Hit! has managed to put out one the best albums this year, and that’s saying a lot.