Pleading Guilty – “Defacto”


Over the years, Thumper Punk Records has brought out a good bit of California-esque skate punk bands and their latest find is Pleading Guilty, perhaps ironically, not from California but Colorado.

Anyone familiar with Thumper Punk Records roster will certainly recognize their emphasis on melodic punk rock with a Christian message brought out by bands like False Idle, True Liberty, Metanoia, A Common Goal, Heart Like War, and the list goes on and on.  Many of those bands do have that Southern California punk rock vibe to their sound  that includes bands like NOFX, Dogwood, Craig’s Brother, Pennywise, and so many others even though most of the aforementioned bands are not at all from Southern California.  Pleading Guilty fits in that same grouping as they have the sound but actually hail from the Denver/Aurora, Colorado area.  The four-piece would fit right in on a bill with any of the bands mentioned previously.

The album opens up with an incredibly long track for a punk band, clocking in just under 4 minutes.  Just from the initial track it becomes clear that Pleading Guilty have figured out how to write catchy, melodic punk rock songs.  Guitars are fast  and the rhythm section is tight as one would expect within the genre.  There is a great use of backing/gang vocals as well, and in this track especially, I can hear a Dogwood/Craig’s Brother sound.   For me the vocals struck me a sounding a bit forward, maybe strained and a tad too loud in the mix, but this is just opinion on my end and shows my bias.  This becomes more apparent in the beginning of the next track “Amnesia”, which is a bit slower and has less music going on in some parts that would mask the vocals a bit.  To provide some perspective, at times the vocal delivery reminds me quite a bit of Fat Mike from NOFX, while at other times it is quite different.  The next few tracks continue on in the same vein, while the vocals in “Prayer Disease” do become a bit more forceful and in-your-face than in the previous songs.

“Away from Here” is one of those songs that can showcase the band as a whole.  The track opens up with some drums and bass and a guitar riff over the top of that while the verse sections break the sound down to just vocals, drum and bass accented by a counterpoint guitar.  Immediately noticeable is the ultra-fast drum carrying the song along and the solid foundation supplied by the bass in those sections.  This is one of the shorter tracks on the album but given the speed, probably has as much music crammed in as some of the slower ones.

After a few more similar somewhat predictable songs, “What Have We Become” jumps out with one of those catchy melodies that makes melodic punk rock so listenable.  Combined with some changes in the music between verses, and a driving drum line, this to me is one of the highlights on the album.

Thumper Punk Records has succeeded in finding another gem in Pleading Guilty, especially when you consider this is their first album.  Melodic punk rock that hits all the right buttons and sounds familiar but at the same time different enough from all the bands that came before them to keep things interesting.

Rating: 7.5/10

Written by John Jackson

01. Search and Rescue
02. Amnesia
03. Who’d Believe Me
04. Prayer Disease
05. Away From Here
06. Hanging On (CD exclusive)
07. No Question
08. Breaking Out
09. What Have We Become
10. What If
11. Pleading Guilty

Band Members
Dave Lucitt – Vocals, guitar
Nathaniel Been- Guitar
Joshua Magano – Bass
John Carroll – Drums

Record Label: Thumper Punk Records, Feb. 2017

Weblinks: Facebook

Video for ‘Breaking Out’


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