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Here's are some reviews of The Comrades. They are uncut, unedited, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
A Spectrum of Light
This band plays mid paced punk in the vein of some of the stuff coming out of England in the early 80s. I guess Wire would be a good comparison. Some of the songs are actually pretty catchy. - Radio Riot June 1994.
It took 11 years and multiple band breakups, but finally this collection of melodic punk has arrived. Randy Gaston and Jimmy Williams are the original members, and Williams' socio-political leanings (he's an ex- Politburo and Positive Alternative member) pop up every once in a while. Other than that, this is good old style punk that I'd like to catch live. Jersey Beat 1994 Tom B.
Pretty bad sound quality. This has a good rawness to it. Almost english vocals with some good mid-tempo punk , it's no poppy though. I think this band needs some more speed and energy. Favorite Song(s)-Do You Believe? - Mike Flak Insert Clever Title Here web page
The Invisible Hand
I've never had this much fun reviewing a demo before. The Comrades have written the book about anarchy. Lyrics are rebellious and sarcastic, yet intelligent. Every lick, riff, and hook will be dancing through your ears hours after you hear it. I can't wait for more from these D.I.Y. guys. - Aquarian July 30, 1997. Alana Quartuccio.
Pretty nifty bunch of songs - about twelve of them - from a band that crosses some of the noodling of the Buzzcocks with the sound and political stuff of the Clash. Even some of the vocal harmonies don't line up, the band have their heads and hearts in the right place, and the songs are good (I particularly like "Last Laugh," "Your Teenage Years are Gone," "A Plastic Jesus") I think they'd do well to trim some of the fat here ("Please SIgn Us" for example just doesn't measure up lyrically or musically to the other material) but there is some really good material to be had for people who like good, straight up punk anthems that remind me of lots of bands I like a whole bunch, of which there is no shortage here. Anyway, this is worth looking into, I think the cassette is $5, and these guys are looking to put this out in another format. Give it a shot. - Flipside 1998, Reflex
From their previous release, you couldn't tell this was them. I think everything was vastly improved. They still have mid-tempo stuff, yet it has energy and more talent behind it. Most of the songs have a lead guitar going. The vocals aren't as irritating and they have some catchy guitar licks. Favorite Song(s)-Tower of Babble, Putty In Their Hands,Please Sign us. - Mike Flak Insert Clever Title Here web page
Lately, I've been under the impression that most "political" (or anarchist /commie /peacepunk /whatever) bands keep spewing out the same boring rhetoric overtop of crappy music. I'll admit that getting a tape by a band called "The Comrades" with a bio about being "socially conscious" and taking on the "issues" made me groan at first. Anyway, my mood quickly changed as soon as I put this tape on. First of all, the music grabbed me because it's a fine example of high-energy punk rock that I like. It's loud and angry sounding, yet it still has some really catchy guitar riffs and background vocals. Plus, the lyrics are "socially conscious" and tackle the "issues" better than any band I've heard recently. No dumb slogans or idiotic attitude, just straight-up commentary. I may not agree with everything they say, but this is a damn good release. If you like politically charged punk rock that doesn't suck, you'l dig this one. For more info, check out the: Comrades Homepage. Reviewed: December 21, 1997 - Vic Goddard World Wide Punk web page
The band really got it together for The Invisible Hand. It was originally released on cassette and it rocked then. The whole thing was re-recorded and released on CD with a full line up consisting of Jimmy, Greg, Mike Ricra, and Tim Lastfogel on lead guitar. This shows that the band were not crippled by the loss of Gaston and could deliver the goods and keep coming back for more thank you very much! This is probably my favorite thing they have done and shows the many different styles the band is capable of. The production is the strongest of the three CDs. 13 songs on there and not a dud in the batch. There is no reason that this should not be in your collection. Correct that oversight right away, please. - E-crap website March 2000 Rich Conroy.
Illusory Refuge From Your Torment
The Comrades: ("This Is Not Entertainment") If you took The Buzzcocks and Citizen Fish out of their native UK and placed them in the middle of East Rutherford, New Jersey--you'd get these guys! - Reviewed Summer 1999 Atomic Pop MP3 Vault
High-energy, politically charged punk rock with a strong message and a cool old-school sound. This is smart stuff, speaking about the consumer society, government oppression, and personal alienation. Lead singer and guitarist Jimmy Williams has a delivery reminiscent of Sham 69 or The Buzzcocks. Yes, those two examples are pretty far apart, but believe it or not, they both apply to Williams. He has a high degree of emotion and attitude, expressing anger and sadness all at once. The rest of the band is equally talented, giving The Comrades a slamming, buzzing, intense sound which hits right at the soul. --Mark Ginsburg Rockpile October 1999
OK, the cover is REALLY freaky, let me say that first. The songs on this, the Comrades third release, are a little more introspective (Irrelevant, Point Of View) and lyrically more impressive. The songs are well written and played as well. The only problem I have is that the production is lacking. I think John Troy (the producer) was trying to make sure Jimmy’s lyrics came across but when you’re talking punk rock that’s what the lyric sheet is for. When a band has two guitar players and bass and drums I want to be tackled by sound! I’d like to see these songs recorded with the new lineup in a bigger studio. Jimmy thinks this is a depressing album, but there are shining moments of hope that come through. There’s stuff here for the old school lover ("Back To Basics" which is a ripping fast hardcore tune) and the pop lover ("Miss You Now/Someday", which was on their first release, re-recorded and included here) alike. Write to the band and get all 3 CDs for under 20 bucks! Rating (*** ½) (one point deducted due to production). - E-crap website March 2000 Rich Conroy.
I can't pin-point this band's sound. They don't really sound like a ripoff of anyone else, dammit! Don't they know this makes it harder for someone to review their music? Geeeze! OK, all kidding aside, these guys really are quite good and unique, and their sound is all over the place. Kind of like some 70's punk, early hardcore, 90's style political punk bands. A few bands that come to mind are Good Riddance, Wire, and the Problem Children. The thing I like about this band is their style of angry, yet controlled music that really puts me in the mood to pay attention to their well-written political and insightful lyrics, without getting lost in a wall of pointless noise. Anger and intelligence are pretty tough weapons. Only a Purchase Away is especially great. - World Wide Punk website December 3, 2001 - Vic.
New Jersey's Comrades have released what is quite possibly the best punk rock record in years!!! A fierce combination of melodic guitar playing, tight forceful drumming and a unique, powerful vocal delivery elevates this cd to a level most bands only dream of. Powerful lead guitar playing runs through every song, with different flavours and tempos thrown about in the creation of a grand musical soundscape. A progressive '77 feel is prominent on this disc. Idealistic and perceptive, the Comrades deliver both lyrically and musically. Backed up by a crystal clear production 'Illusory Refuge From Your Torment' is a mindblowing album that needs to be in everybody's collection. If you only ever buy one AMP release, make sure it's this one!!! - Amp Records website October, 2002
Though they don’t really sound like ‘em, the veritable hodgepodge of weird rhythmic timings and theatrical vocal delivery these guys put into their music brings to mind Secret Hate, who did much the same with hardcore back in the ‘80s. Though a lot of what they do may be is skewed and lyrically astute enough to leave most of the parrot-punk punters back at the starting line, they are no strangers to pop sensibilities, making sure to add the occasional sing-along part to keep the kids attentive. –Jimmy Alvarado - Razorcake.org 2010
This New Jersey Band (that apparently started in 1983) plays 12 songs of catchy punk with intelligent lyrics, and comes off like a mix of first singer era Dropkick Murphys and Propaghandi, without the slickness or either – JU - Maximum ROckNRoll 2010
Editor's note: I have no idea what issue this was from. I only found it by chance. Does it sound like they gave this much of a listen? More than one single sentence would have just been too much effort. Oh, and YES we DID start in 1983 - their pompous California sarcasm notwithstanding. I don't know why I bothered sending them a copy. It won't hapen again.
Holy Gobstoppers Bat Man!! Another Compilation Maximumrocknroll Won't like (COMPILATION)
V/A-"Holy Gobstoppers Bat Man!! Another Compilation Maximumrocknroll Won't like" CD. Yep, they're right. I don't really like this. Why should I endorse a pop punk CD comp with eight good songs and 25 mediocre ones? Standout tunes by VETERAN FLASHBAX, STINKAHOLIC, BETWEEN THE EYES, CELL BLOCK 5, and THE COMRADES. --Hal McClean MRR No. 197 October 1999
If you want to riot to some punk rock with an old school twist, then you'll wanna hear The Comrades. A little of everything makes this a great act to watch. I'd never doubt their musical talent for a second, not the fact that they breathe, drink, and eat punk rock. Lead singer/rhythm guitarist Jimmy Williams is one helluva character. Wind him up, put him on stage and watch him go wild! He shocked the crowd by stripping himself of his trademark jacket and t-shirt, and parading around on stage with chains around his arms and neck while sporting a skirt. It's punk as rebellious as you can get it! They make a statement with every show they play and every song they write. I was lucky enough to get my hands on their demo The Invisible Hand so I've already been a big fan. "Free Trade" is my personal favorite. Their songs are so thoughtful. Emotional. Intelligent. I like to call it passion punk, because these guys treat their music as the art it really is. So, check 'em out! - Aquarian August 20, 1997. Alana Quartuccio.
Originally put together way back in 1983 (and re-formed in 1990), Clifton-based punk four-piece, The Comrades, have played for a small, but loyal, local following for years. Returning from another brief hiatus, this time with Squiggy, Broken Heroes, Undead drummer Joel Gausten added to the lineup that also includes guitarist/vocalist Jimmy Williams, bassist Greg Matwijiszyn and guitarist Tim Lastfogel; the new band are about to record their third full-length CD, and is also planning to re-issue CD versions of their first two self-released, full length cassette-only recordings: 1994's A Spectrum of Light and 1996's The Invisible Hand. Send e-mail to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more Comrades information. The website is located at: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/comrades. - Aquarian November 4, 1998. Al Muzer.
Talk about living for rock 'n' roll...still a full-time LawnDarts member, drummer Mike Random has reunited with his old band The Comrades. The regrouped group, which now boasts Jimmy Williams on lead vocals and guitar, guitarist Darren Faller, bassist Greg M. and Random on lead vocals and drums, performs this Thursday, March 2nd, at Maxwell's, 1039 Washington Street, Hoboken during a show that also includes Flatus and Lady Luck. When asked if his involvement in The Comrades might get in the way of his duties as the LawnDarts drummer, Random reminded me of his long time dual role as a Comrade/Drag Triplet and proceeded to plug the 'Darts appearance on a just-released Triple X Records punk comp called Stranglehold. - Aquarian March 1, 2000. Al Muzer.