To be honest, when I received Chicago band Voice of Addiction’s “Re-evolution” in the mail to review, everything about it made me think it was going to be a 2000’s-era style straight edge hardcore record – the album art, the band name, to an extent the lyrics, etc. That kind of shit bores me, so I was delightfully surprised when I popped it in and found it instead to be some good old fashioned rockabilly-tinged melodic punk rock. Voice of Addiction describe themselves as “politically charged punk/rock/ska” and I would have to agree with that statement to the hilt. Staunchly anti-capitalism and simultaneously concerned with global injustice, they effortlessly blend the ferocity and speed of 80’s punk with the finer (and non-annoying) points of ska and the flair and swagger of rockabilly, but with results that defy the generic and what you might come to expect with music in this vein. There are even some surprising elements of crossover metal, modern hardcore and alterna-rock that gives the record quite a bit of versatility. “Re-evolution” is fun and heartening, without sacrificing the seriousness, aggressiveness and urgency of their call-to-arms message.

The record begins with introductory track “Broken Bones and Broken Homes,” a title that immediately gives you a sense of Voice of Addiction’s lyrics and motivation for playing their brand of in-your-face rock ‘n’ roll. They are here to protest and make some noise, albeit some pretty toe-tapping noise. The song is definitely the most rockabilly-influenced out of all of them, but spins it with a modern heavy punk rock twist that is refreshing to hear outside of traditionalist throwback bands. It’s bouncy and fun, but without enough fire and oi-influenced shout-alongs to keep any anti-establishment 77 purist pumped to dismantle oppression and dance concurrently. Songs like “Got Your Number” and “The Walls” subscribe to a more stripped-down punk sound, with a driving bass line rooting beneath some snotty solos, hard-as-nails riffing and fuming shouting. Also, as a notorious hater of ska, I appreciate Voice of Addiction’s apparent talent for giving skank parts some attitude and balls.

My favorite track on the record, however, is definitely the fourth track, “Right! Now!” which I would choose as the song to recommend to anyone who is curious about Voice of Addiction’s sound. The song in a sense defines the band perfectly, as it displays not only their burning and critical message/lyrical content to a T, but also exhibits their extreme flexibility in songwriting that somehow lacks any sort of lackadaisical nature. The tune delves itself into punk, metal and even indie rock, jumping between vocalist/bassist Ian’s gruff warble into big riffs, ripping solos, lightning-fast progressions and noisy melodic indie-esque chords. All in all, if you’re into some traditional political unrest-fueled punk rock that unapologetically digs into some fresh new earth, pick this up.