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Album review: Black on Black - Get On With It (EP)

Album review: Black on Black - Get On With It (EP)

At this point, it seems impossible for Lawrence band Black on Black to make a bad record, at least not in this reality. With its latest album Get On With It, Black on Black has completed its climb to the top of the heap as King Shit of Rock n Roll Mountain. It stands—in my opinion—as the best band in town, in the state, in the region, bar none. Many try gallantly and come close, but few have the realism, the emotion, or the genuine aggression that lives between the lines of every song Black on Black delivers.
The album blasts out of the gate with 2 minutes and 32 seconds of power on “Fork In The Road.” It changes speeds, throws the listener off center, and blows minds. With this album, Black on Black has managed to make their best, most powerful, grittiest music of its thus far short but stellar career. This is the band’s crown jewel of a record exploding in 12 minutes; that’s right—five songs in 12 minutes, and nary a repeated word or laziness in a chorus. Songs are written by cutting the fat, removing all bullshit, and making a punk rock record devoid of gimmicks, full of conviction and gnashed teeth spirit.
On “The Good Fight,” frontman Wade Kelly spits “I’m at the end of a short leash / I keep running,” and this is the perfect analogy for the life of Black on Black. From Help Yourself to Let’s Get Cynical and now, Get On with It, Black on Black has chiseled away at a world that tries to pigeonhole musicians, molds them for MTV, and throws them away after the powers that be tell their automatons to grow tired of their music and move to the next big thing.
With Get On With It, there seems to be no agenda other than to rip rock a new asshole. Aaron Riffel’s bass, John Benda’s drums, and Kelly’s guitar work come together in a dog fight on “Car Fire,” each trying to outdo the other while the vocals are distorted at times beyond clarity, collapsing in a pile of spent fury. As with Help Yourself and Let’s Get Cynical, pop melody does exist sporadically on Get On With It but only to push the songs deeper into your head; their catchiness deceives you, like the Serpent in the Garden, lulling you to peace, calling you to taste the fruit before you.
Black on Black has taken everything it has done in its previous EPs and mixed it all, roughed the already splintered edges, threw in influences like Death, Fugazi, Sunny Day Real Estate, Jawbreaker, Bad Religion; and what comes pouring out is genuine, fierce, intelligent, and incendiary. While some punk bands leave me cold in my old age, getting by on regurgitated stuff to live in the shadow of perceived cool, Black on Black rings true. It’s a group that clearly does not care about being cool, but only cares about rock ‘n roll.
That's the way it should be.


This Friday, Black on Black will be celebrating the KC release of Get On With It at recordBar. Special guests include We Are Hex, Sundiver, and Wrath and Ruin. Facebook event page
--Danny R. Phillips

Danny R. Phillips has been reporting on music of all types and covering the St. Joseph, MO music scene for well over a decade. He is a regular contributor to the nationally circulated BLURT Magazine and his work has appeared in The Pitch, The Omaha Reader, Missouri Life, The Regular Joe, Skyscraper Magazine, Popshifter, Hybrid Magazine, the websites Vocals on Top and Tuning Fork TV, Perfect Sound Forever, The Fader, and many others. 

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