By Cole Faulkner
If you’re into 90’s style skate-punk, then you owe it to yourself to get acquainted with Australian four piece The Decline. Drawing broad inspiration from countrymen Frenzal Rhomb and Local Resident Failure, along with recognizable staples No Use For A Name and NOFX, the Perth punk outfit puts their best foot forward for their third full length, Resister. Chalk full of accelerated drum arcs and speedily layered vocal harmonies, those that refuse to acknowledge that the 90’s ended fifteen years ago stand to wholeheartedly embrace every second of the ensuing 30 minutes.
The Decline wastes no time parading their melodic punk prowess as opener “New Again” races in on the coattails of a snapping drum beat over harmonizing vocals. From there the band invites listeners to a lively display that doesn’t hesitate to punctuate each next chorus with the tuneful melody of upbeat riffs. As seen a track later with “Giving Up Is A Gateway Drug,” The Decline tactfully barrels ahead in a melodic frenzy only to sensibly reel the hysteria back in and compliment their quickest passages with a soft spoken, emotional bridge. In the case of “I Don’t Believe,” the same can be said of the emergence of the track’s big, recurring gang-bolstered choral apex. “You Call This A Holiday” takes similar advantage of a cleaner, more emotionally in-tune intro in much the same way that Resolve-era Lagwagon juxtaposed light segments against bursts of runaway speed. While a superficial listen might brush off The Decline as a one trick skate-punk act, a closer listen quickly sheds light on a far more balanced ensemble.
While a feverous pace lies at the core of The Decline, a binding respect for ambitious elements of those like Propaghandi serve as an undercurrent. Late song solos in tracks like “The Blurst Of Times” and “I Don’t Believe” do more than simply fill the runtime – they offer an insight to The Decline’s depth of performance.
Lyrically, The Decline comes cut from the same socially aware cloth as their influences. While many tracks like “I Almost Never Met You” aren’t exactly what you’d call “high stakes,” The Decline isn’t afraid to make a statement either. A little less direct and structurally fired up (they’re far from a political punk band), tracks like “New Again” certainly present The Decline as a troupe that has their priorities in order. Songs about changing perspective (“The Blurst Of Time”), coming to terms with loss (“Wrecking Ball”) and resilience (“Broken Bones”) ensure that listeners always have something worthwhile to follow along with.
As Resister makes clear, The Decline is a familiar breed of punk band; rapid, melodic skate-punk that’s every bit as easy to get into as it is quick. While slightly softer in attitude or intent as perhaps Pennywise or NOFX, the overall feeling remains energized and engaging. Those with a hankering for some 90’s style punk-rock can’t go wrong with Resister.