REVIEW: Mesa Lanes – High Crimes & Misdemeanors
When it comes to punk, maturity can be an evil mistress but Mesa Lanes have escaped her grip on their debut High Crimes & Misdemeanors. Veterans of the Orange County punk scene, the band members have paid their dues over the decades as members of Dodge Dart, White Flag, and the Goods. Singer, songwriter and guitarist Nicky Sjobeck brings absolute conviction to each song as if the band is playing for their lives.
The band doesn’t veer far from the punk lexicon and the songs have a sense of urgency about them that reveals a group of men utterly frustrated with the world around them. “Building A Wall” doesn’t mince it’s words about the POTUS while the Duke Seino penned “Sick and Tired” laments the division and hatred that floods us via the media. Otherwise, the band’s songs are rich in nostalgia for the adventures of youth and wasted opportunities.
What separates Mesa Lanes from the current crop of punk music lies in the song craft. “Point of Breaking” and “First Degree” are grounded in well-constructed melodies that balance Sjobeck’s snarling delivery. The guitar riffs and bass breaks are tight and interesting instead of repetitive and simple. Mesa Lanes are carrying on the Orange County punk tradition in grand style and here’s hoping their album finds its deserving audience.