New World Record was released in 1999 and finds Poster Children back to indie roots, with no detriment to the quality of their music whatsoever. By this time the band has been going strong for over a decade with consistent output.
I went into this record excited for what they have in store and I was definitely not disappointed. What the band added to their arsenal for New World Record are a whole lot of syncopation and rhythm shifts. Where past albums had pop-punk and grunge as a strong core, here we find drummer Howie Kantoff’s skills seemingly unlocked and given more space. This is their grooviest and funkiest album to date while still maintaining their rebellious and creative drive.
Despite the band coming back to their DIY roots, the transition from listening to Junior Citizen and New World Record feels so seamless that one wouldn’t notice the shift in production unless you learned about it. A sign that the band’s identity was already grounded from the start and cannot be rocked by outside circumstances such as producing under a label. I can only imagine being a fan of theirs during the 90’s. The trust and feeling of not having to worry about their output must have been a refreshing feeling.
Opener “Accident Waiting to Happen” starts with a flourishing drum shuffle unlike anything the band has shown before. The kind of rumbling that supersedes an earthquake or whatever calamity this title suggests. “6×6” is highlighted by the drum and bass syncopation that weaves into tight and energetic bursts of energy. “Planet Earth” shakes its tambourine and erratic guitar riffs in an oddball of rock and jazz that’s hard to pin down.
Speaking of hard to pin down, there are more unique genre takes in this album than their other records as well. “Mr. Goodnight” goes into full samba beat, reminiscent of the Bangles with a more haunting guitar and vocal performance. “Good Cop Bad Cop” is grounded on bouncy hip-hop drums with jumping riffs that move to the realm of ska. “Secret Handshake” finds the band going full funk rock, almost sounding like a sober version of Red Hot Chili Peppers.
This wild and restless album ends with a slow sendoff. “Deadman” is sung in the form of poetic verses, almost resembling a folk tale in structure while still grounded in slow rock.
New World Record is the fifth and last of our reviews for Poster Children, and it’s amazing to see how the band churns out these songs like clockwork with unwavering consistency. The 90’s was truly a great era in music and this band is a testament to that.