MusicRecord Reviews


Karbomb doesn’t skimp on anything. Everything on Nose Before Toes is thoroughly arranged and impeccably practiced. That should read as an endorsement of their dedication to craft, not an indictment of slick contrivance. It’s as far from sloppy drunk punk as a record can get without heading into boring modern hardcore territory.

Nose Before Toes starts off with the defeatistly titled, but defiantly lyricised, “Punx Been Dead, We’re Just Stupid.†The feedback-n-bass section near the beginning—which lasts all of 10 seconds—is pretty killer, and the track is probably the most palate extending track in the band’s songbook.

There’s always this tendency to lazily categorize speedy melodic punk as pop punk. Karbomb is solidly the former, but quite far from the goofball dorkiness of the latter. The band sounds renewed and stronger here. The lyrics run from the personal (“Sometimes I’d rather be someone that matters/ rather than another sleazy fucking punkâ€) to the class-conscious (“Nobody cares what true colors you wear, so fuck you/ unless by chance your shirt collar is blueâ€) in the space of a single song. Some of the album’s targets are too obvious (e.g., scenesters, sell-outs, etc.) but the verbal barbs are generally so good the band is forgiven this myopia. Standout tracks include “Town Cars & Gay Bars,” the loving tribute to Jon Guthrie titled simply “Jon,†and “Bastard Flu,†which declares: “Live dumb die fun/ Take shit from no one/ Don’t worry, sometimes everyone’s a bastard/ Somedays are 24-hour disasters/ …Love life and stay young.†All things considered, not a bad anthem to have on one’s side.