With their sixth full-length, Bound by Ties of Blood and Affection, Santa Cruz's Good Riddance continue to develop and hone the sound they nearly perfected on its predecessor, Symptoms of a Leveling Spirit. This LP basically picks up where that one left off, and Russ's sharp lyrics continue to cut like a serrated edge. Adding Luke's anthemic guitar work, Chuck's meanly steady basslines, and Dave's unpredictable drumming to the mix makes for an incredibly compelling release.
These lyrics say more in a few paragraphs than some bands cough out in their entire discographies. By and large, the album sounds slightly more confident than Symptoms, but with an obviously greater cynical aftertaste than much of their back catalog. Topics include long distance love, media influence, and the disappointment that comes with age and from experience, among other relevent social issues. The album's conclusion sums up the retrospective feeling that life may have cheated us all: "So what's it all for? / When the lies mean so much more / Much more than reality / And what's the use of keeping score / When I've lost?" In addition, the literary quality of the lyrics is incredible. What other punk bands are going to name-drop James Joyce and adapt lines from Bukowski poems? Not too many.
If you're looking for thoughtful and honest lyrical content which actually strays from the banal ideologies of most of the lyrics in this genre, then Good Riddance will help you out. And the music ain't too bad either.