This record was released in 2016 on VLE Records. Bitter Grounds is a punk ska band hailing from Utrecht, Netherlands. This album is like a breath of fresh air for punk rock and ska. While writing this in my head I have visions of punks, skins, and rockers moshing in harmony or destruction, Haha. I also think of the many people that are tired of the folk scene and need some hardcore guitar riffs in their lives.
Track 1- Hollowlands- Song has a great intro from the Film-Network, starring Howard Beale. “We deal in illusions, man. None of it is true! But you people sit there day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds – we’re all you know. You’re beginning to believe the illusions we’re spinning here. You’re beginning to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you. You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube. You even think like the tube. This is mass madness. You maniacs.”
This song has me thinking where did the idea for the tune come from? Is it against mass consumerism? Is it dropping your cell phone, closing your laptop and reconnecting with your fellow man? Is it something deep down we as all humans need to return to where the little things have meaning again? Is not listening to the latest political spin and thinking with our own brain’s again?
Track 2- Struck Out- Definitely my favorite track from the album. The first time I heard it I quickly reached for my phone to make sure I hadn’t accidentally started a Tim Timebomb or Lars Fredrickson Spotify channel. As I listen I can hear a band struggling to make it to the top, but they are being shutdown by the establishment. I love the outtake near the end of the tune from a Youtube video where an angry man berates a musician playing for change, https://youtu.be/9E62iA6KCIQ.
Track 3- Tell Me Now- A toe tapping tune that will have you singing along. To me it feels like the ending of a relationship or some sort. You question yourself and those around you wondering where to go from there.
Track 4- Life of Violence- Probably my 2nd favorite track. It’s almost a throwback to 1980’s punk rock like the Dead Boys yet has the strength and momentum of Bad Religion. Are you ready to destroy? Throw on this jam. The song actually has a very deep meaning about being surrounded in a world full of violence.
Track 5- Human Touch- I really enjoy the mix thrown in here to slow the tempo down. It’s like this track is referencing the meaning behind Hollowlands. Almost as if humans need to return to being human again. Is it time to put down the ipad for bit?
Track 6- Patience- Picking up the pace again this tune is about fighting and not waiting around for things to change. We cannot change the world sitting around and being patient.
Track 7- Pressure- My 3rd favorite track on the album. This tune reminds me a little of Stiff Little Finger’s cover version of The Specials song, Doesn’t Make It Alright. I for one think this song is possibly about the loss or troubled relationship.
Track 8- Fine, Alright- A nice steady rock steady beat behind a bass line. Reminds of a bit of Rat Race by the Specials. About knowing your job is sucking the life out of you and wanting more out of life than the 9-5.
Ok we here at Colorado Punk Rock Army give Hollowlands by Bitter Grounds a solid 9.5. Add this album to your collection today and buy the shit out of their merchandise! Let’s put these guys on the map! Hollowlands is available on all major music providers right now.
You can grab this album here, https://bittergrounds.bandcamp.com/ or follow them on Facebook here, https://www.facebook.com/BitterGroundsBand/