With Gag we have the living proof that Punk is still not dead in 2020 and can be lived in full passion. Since the release of their 2016 album, America’s Greatest Hits, the band from Olympia, Washington, may well have played themselves into the ears of the worldwide community and be considered one of the genre’s biggest insiders’ tips. Recently, these Americans published their latest longplayer Still Laughing, which has given the sound the final touches and conjures up one bad-tempered Hardcore Punk anthem after another. If you are looking for puking out sounding music, you finally have come to the right place.
Except for the two somewhat out of tune songs “Walking Nightmare” and “Scorpion Sequence”, which are opener and outro and come up with a dreary electro/noise sound, you’ll be spoiled by vibrant, pissed-off Hardcore Punk in between. Sometimes, the songs seem stomping, sometimes more pogo-ready and then again just classically raw and hard, as you are used to from the early days of the genre. The drumming puts on a great performance and swirls around permanently while the bass drum is really pulling and kicking. The guitars on Still Laughing are not that different – sawing riffing and groovy melodies, including a lot of feedback, primitive elements are used here as well. At some points, the furious midtempo sound is slowed down to sluggish speeds and you can switch from pogo and pushing around to stomping around.
Thanks to Gag’s well-known, catchy songwriting, the quality is not lowered and remains on a constant high level. Especially the distinctive basslines that come with it are very appealing in the slower passages and give me a feeling of happiness, like only a perfect shit does. That the overall sound quality has increased becomes clear with the slightly reverberating, snotty nagging vocals including duller voice-parts, which sound better, more aggressive and more understandable than before and in my eyes represent the biggest difference to the previous album. In general, after several runs of Still Laughing, the whole sound seems to be much more compact and the song structures more mature, which suits the music of Gag extremely well and can make it a bit more catchier than ever.
Gag released the album via IRON LUNG RECORDS, where you can choose between different color variations. By the way, almost at the same time, the same label released the compilation 12″ Killing For Both Realities 3’92, which gives you the opportunity to listen to selected hits of the band’s earlier works. If you like Still Laughing, you should simply grab both records to get the full range of punk that forces you to spit and freak out. Gag are clearly the appropriate sarcastic, musical companion for the crazy year 2020 and they give it a resolute attitude – which is called Still Laughing!