A debut album by a punk band being a live recording? I think most bands in general, let alone punk bands would shudder at the thought. Actually, this is a rather punk rock sort of thing to do right? Anyways, Raven Faith Records, latest band, CPR has released their debut album Live at Fuzion and for those looking for straight ahead punk rock attitude and sound of some of the older bands, this is one to check out.
Hailing from Fountain Valley, in Southern California near Huntington Beach south of LA, CPR is, from the limited information I can find, a father and sons band which is I believe the first time I’ve run into this situation and I will say it is pretty cool to see punk rock being passed from generation to generation. The band accurately describes their sound as “classic punk rock” with style influences from bands like Sham69, Dead Boys, Cock Sparrer, the Damned, and Stiff Little Fingers.
Live recordings by any band can be a bit of an ordeal and challenge and punk bands rarely step up to that, let alone for a debut, so needless to say, even on the surface this is a bit noteworthy. The first thing that becomes clear is that the crowd is not captured or mixed into the recording the way you typically hear in a live recording, this is essentially just the band. Vocals, drums and guitars are clear and the guitar tone is a bit on the rough side as it should be for a punk band. Unfortunately, outside of the intro to the opening track “Contagious”, the bass is largely lost in the mix, which makes the music seem a bit thin, but again this is a live recording.
The band is very upfront with their faith and that comes through in nearly all of the songs, with the exception of maybe “Hard Life” and “Rebellions”. Even the band’s name, CPR, for Christian Punk Rock, immediately tells you where the songs will be going. Unfortunately, that will turn off a good bit of the potential audience, who probably aren’t going to be singing along with lines like “The Son of God, he’s a friend of mine.” In that respect, this album reminds me of one that would largely be sold exclusively in Christian bookstores. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that but I personally prefer the approach the band took in the songs “Hard Life” and “Rebellions” where they talk about the challenges we all face in life and how rough things can be when we choose to live away from Christ but they wait until the very end to provide that answer on in Rebellions which takes a look at the fall of society and how we can choose to have things end differently.
Musically, this is straight ahead punk rock with a lot of influences ranging from the Sex Pistols to some hints of Dead Kennedys. Songs are mostly mid-tempo, heavily guitar driven, with vocals delivered in a somewhat stereotypical punk rock tone of Sid Vicious and Jello Biafra and there are even some guitar solos. At one point, I even caught a brief Motley Crue “Too Fast for Love” vibe going on which was a bit odd but cool. For those looking for a straight ahead punk rock equivalent of overtly Christian bands like the OC Supertones, CPR would be one to definitely check out. Sticking with this ska comparison, If you prefer an approach to songs and lyrics more like Five Iron Frenzy instead of the OC Supertones, you may not appreciate the songs as much but should still check this out as the band has the chops.
Written by John Jackson
02. Frontline Worker
03. Hard Life
04. I’m Learning
05. Friend of Mine
07. Take a Drink
09. Tomorrow is Another Day
10. Friend of Mine (Mi Amigo)
David – Drums
Jacob – Bass
Greg Hill (Jet Wilson) – Guitar
Record Label: Raven Faith Records, June 2015
Video for ‘Contagious’