Wednesday, October 15, 2014

FIRST IMPRESSION: Continental - Millionaires

Rick Barton - singer-songwriter, former-Dropkick guitarist, and “Bahstahn” punk mainstay - is never short on self-confidence and the latest slab o’ rock from his shit-hot band Continental more than justifies the hubris.  Both more muscular and streamlined than 2012’s “All A Man Can Do”, “Millionaires” crackles with electricity and blue-collar bonhomie. Barton’s lyrics simply yet effectively give voice to the lovers and losers in his songs.  All in all, it’s a sprightlier album due in no small part to Barton’s looser and more natural sounding vocals.  His voice has always been a powerful but limited instrument, and he seems to have figured out how to use his keening growl to maximum effect on stand-outs like “Hope” and “1000 Miles” (itself released as a single earlier this year and by far one of the best things that Barton has ever written).   

The band is also a tighter and more intuitive outfit this time out – son Stephen has grown into a helluva bass player and guitarist Dave Deprest blows rockabilly dust all over the place, spitting leads on the title track like a young Dave Alvin.   Purists will gripe about the lack of “punk” on the record (there’s even a song called “Punk Rock Girl”, which is sadly NOT a cover of the Dead Milkmen song!), but this is populist rock in the finest sense of that term – of the people, for the people – and it’s a great reminder of a talent who has long been taken for granted.  So, enjoy it for what it is, and play the fucker loud!

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