Rhythm & Views 


Recently reformed, and celebrating their 25th anniversary of a sporadic existence, early '80s SoCal punk rock stalwarts the Adolescents are back in full-bore action with OC Confidential, the band's first legitimate studio recordings since 1988. Two-and-a-half decades have not mellowed these former surf-'n'-skate juvenile delinquents into metamorphosing into a third-rate, nostalgic lounge rock act looking to cash in on their former punk infamy, either: These tracks are full of the young, loud and snotty brashness reminiscent of their 1981 eponymous debut, which made them icons to disenchanted, middle-class American youths everywhere--all struggling against the oppressive Ronald Reagan-led social/political regime.

Three-fifths of the original lineup may now be parents in their early 40s, but founding members Tony Cadena (vocals), Frank Agnew (guitar) and Steve Soto (bass) belt out a batch of high-octane, three-chord punk morsels crammed full of scintillating, tumultuous guitar riffing, and biting, caustic lyrics of desperation and hopelessness, all dealing with familiar Adolescents topics: teenage alienation ("Pointless Teenage Anthem"), social angst ("Into the Fire") and political uncertainty ("Hawks and Doves"), like they were all still glue-sniffin', antisocial terrors recapturing the uncertainty of a daunting post-pubescence and searching desperately for an escape hatch from a projected lifetime of hell stuck in a dead-end job in the conforming cesspool of suburbia.

More by Ron Bally


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