Spawned from the skate rock, punk attitudes of the golden years; Adolescents were a scream of youth that re-invigorated the style of taking teenagers and making kick ass punk in the basement. From playing house shows to quickly playing internationally and becoming global icons, Adolescents were a substantial stain in music history as being rough, impressively-cut, and so laid back that every album should come with a free beer and surf board.
When Adolescents formed in 1980, they began to work with a certain distinct style and approach to the earliest roots of punk rock. Their Self-Titled debut is littered with hits from the stand-out track, “Kids of The Black Hole” and “Amoeba”, both becoming huge successes for Adolescents with an impressive track record before reaching he tender age of twenty-one. The five-star team of Tony Cadena behind the lead vocals, Rikk Agnew on the guitar and backing vocals, Frank Agnew on the secondary guitar, Steve Soto on the bass, and Casey Royer on the percussion as well as the backing vocals made for a destructive combination of cool waves and even cooler grooves. The first cuts of Self-Titled are standoffish and of punk rock elements, the incoming tracks, “I Hate Children”, “Who Is Who” and “Self Destruct” are just some of the rather rushed and blitzing of the first approaches that when played in sequence become more than just punk tracks, they become vessels of emotion.
Especially on the track, “Kids of the Black Hole” where Adolescents are slow to start, but soon take the speed into an instantly shifting ramp where the percussion and guitar play synonymously together, without missing a step; as if taken in a waltz with pure power. They move effortlessly and gracefully, but still able to break bone with each strike, “Kids of The Black Hole” becomes a furious rush of recognizable and instantaneous, movement-inducing fun. The sound is then captured into the next following track, “No Way” where Adolescents become running with a devilish-fever of heart-pounding action and door-kicking abrasiveness that captures the crowd-surfing elements of shining punk rock. The guitar solos that end the track, the pounding percussion on the cymbals, and the sudden segue into “Amoeba” where Adolescents do it all over again with an added level of screams and slams.
“Amoeba” is instantly recognizable and one of the classic songs that shifted so many young kids back in the 1980’s, just as it still does today. The riffs and chorus that is shouted over the rapid-fire cymbal machine gun is just glorious; then later, when Adolescents begin to move into “No Friends” and “Welcome To Reality”, they begin to shift again and change the formula once more. Self-Titled is always evolving, always adapting and always becoming something that feels fresh and new once again. Even as the last seconds fall on Adolescents, making for “Things Start Moving” to shift into frame; they never lose focus or change the attitude completely. Instead, they adapt to form with rough guitar sections and a layer of real outstanding action where the screams begin to cease, the guitars suddenly stop, and the world has never been better.
The Self-Titled record debut has some hidden tricks, but mainly keeps the action consistent and straight-forward. Adolescents focus on what makes something truly fantastic, memorable, and sound like a certain decade. It takes the listener back to a simpler time of concrete waves, where the sun shone a little brighter, the rock was a little faster, and the youth controlled the streets. From the past to the future, it seems that not much has, or will change.