Social Distortion – Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes [CD Review]

Review: Ben Hosking

  Social Distortion has managed to create an aura around themselves over the last three decades that has placed them into the realms of punk rock royalty. Perhaps it’s the ice cool, slicked hair, hotrodder image of Mike Ness but more likely it has more to do with the band’s uncanny knack for writing sweet, sweet country-infused, rockabilly punk rock.

It’s been a number of years between drinks for ‘Social Distortion. Their last album was 2004’s ‘Sex, Love and Rock’N’Roll’ – a stunning disc that no doubt left the guys wondering if they could ever top

themselves. The extended pause could also be the result of Mike Ness’ various other distractions like the aforementioned custom cars and his other musical projects including the awesome countrified Mike Ness Band.

In a recent interview, band leader Mike Ness said that for their new album ‘Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes’, the band tried to get “back to the late ‘70s sound” and that they “played around the grooves that [I] liked of that era”. It’s something that is reflected well throughout the disc.

While the band haven’t forsaken Ness’ love of the straight ahead punch of Ramones-esque punk rock, there are many examples of more dynamic and layered retro rock than most SD fans would be used to hearing.

Perhaps ‘Hard Times…’ carries a more unique sonic character because it marked the first time Mike Ness took the reigns as producer. Formerly ‘just’ the singer, guitarist and primary songwriter, the frontman says he wonders why he didn’t do it years ago. However, it has clearly allowed his vision to come into a fully realised form.

‘Hard Times…’ will be a must have for any existing SD fan, but it would also provide a good entry point for any new listeners wishing to get in on the SD scene. It contains all the hallmarks of a classic SD album, but adds a new palette of herbs and spices not seen before – somehow without losing any of that original flavour.

Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes - Social DistortionHard Times and Nursery Rhymes – Social Distortion

Shock Records/Entertainment

More article by Ben Hosking:
* Alexisonfire – Aussie Tour 7inch [Album Review]
* JOHN 5 chats with Ben Hosking – Interview [Audio]
* John 5 “The Art of Malice” [CD Review]
* Soilwork @ Manning Bar, Sydney – 22nd October 2010 – Photo Gallery
* Bring Me the Horizon “There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret” – [CD Review]
* Exodus @ Manning Bar, Sydney – 2nd October 2010 with Switchblade & Subtract (NZ) – Photo Gallery
* Filter “The Trouble with Angels” – [CD Review]
* Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid of SOILWORK chats with Ben Hosking from – Interview