The Have Nots are a relatively new band from the Boston area having released just one record in the past titled, Serf City USA. However, the band members have existed in other bands prior to forming the Have Nots and have spent years crafting their trade. The band generated a loyal following with their past bands and their first record. The new release, Proud is an infectious mix of punk and ska that is upbeat and made for the underdog.
The album starts off on a great note with the album title track. The songs Proud and the Brink gives the listener an instant feeling of what this record is going to be. And that is a modern take on the ’90s wave of punk and ska classics. Both of the first songs have that skate punk feel with full bass tones in the back keeping things moving along with the classic punk beat. Louisville Slugger and Secret Machines change tempo to more of the punk/ska sound. The later song features a female guest vocal spot (could not locate who it is) that really really adds a great element to the song.
The next songs, Freedom of Recession is another punk number while Anywhere but Here is a ska song. Dead Man follows and is the best song (followed by Proud) on the record. This song is a blend of both punk and ska and feels like it could have been on Rancid’s …And Out Come the Wolves.The song is definitely in the same vein as that album. It is just a well structured and executed song. From the catchy guitar lines to the relatable lyrics, this song all around sounds great. Where in the World is next and has a mix of skate punk and ska verses going on. The song works well and brings up some social issues in the lyrics, which come about throughout the record.
Farewell Show starts off as an acoustic number that quickly turns into an upbeat ballad-type of song that has introspective lyrics. The subtle keys in the background are a welcome touch. The little guitar solo bridges the song well too. The last few songs follow suit with the rest of the record mixing the older punk sound with ska riffs. The album closer, The Years ends bringing and upbeat sound with lyrics filled with promise and hope of a better tomorrow and leaves the listener with a warm feeling.
All and all this is a record that pays homage in more ways than one. First of all the title “Proud” along with the song are about one of the member’s dad who passed away when he was a kid. The artwork is a picture of the memeber’s father too. However, the songs on this record pay homage to a definitive sound of the late ’80s and developed through the ’90s that catapulted punk to where it is today. Proud oozes with influences from Rancid, Suicide Machines, Catch 22, the Bouncing Souls, some Clash and perhaps some blue collar lyrics from the Dropkick Murphys. This whole record could be a soundtrack to a Tony Hawk game and there would not be many complaints, if any. For those that ask the question, what is punk music? This is what punk music is: loud, fast, raw, and easily relatable.