Rise Above (Rough Trade)
Although the new album from New York singer-songwriter Dave Longstreth is pitched as a from-memory re-interpretation of Black Flag’s Damaged LP, there isn’t much here that will have old punks getting excited. With its jangling instrumentation and soulful harmonies, Rise Above is more a record which will be appreciated by fans of Magnetic Fields and Edwyn Collins.
When you get over the fact that these songs are based on the work of Henry Rollins, it becomes an engaging collection. The rough-hewn rockabilly strum of ‘Six Pack’, for example, and the breathy ambience of ‘Police Story’ evoke a light West Coast version of protest singing which Big Hank surely never imagined for his songs.