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May 9, 2006

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There are a lot of things it’s really tough to believe in these days: Professional wrestling, the White House’s credibility, email-marketed penis-enlargement techniques. The list goes on and on and on.

Some people might add punk rock to that list, but that’s only because they don’t know where to look. Sure an avalanche of almost comically inept acts have turned punk into a teen lifestyle-marketing campaign ripe for the picking, but there are still a few acts here and there that aren’t hung up on MySpace fashions or equally wanky street-grime-gutter-rawk idiocy. With Don’t Believe, New Mexican Disaster Squad establishes itself as an act in which you can place your faith. It’s not the sort of religious zeal faith that acts such as Fugazi, The Clash or Ani DiFranco, but New Mexican Disaster Squad still knows a thing or two about the three-chord stomp.

So the band’s name is a little misleading. It’s not a disaster squad from New Mexico. It’s not even a freshly formed disaster squad out of old Mexico. It comes from Orlando and offers no explanation for its name, mostly because it’s too busy kicking your head in. Busting through 14 songs in a little more than 28 minutes, NMDS cuts a hearty dose of classic SST punk rock with liberal helpings of vintage Lifetime melodies and a few chunks of Floridian hard stuff. With that kind of pedigree, New Mexican Disaster Squad doesn’t have much room for variety: “9 Kinds of Hell,” “Wasting Matches” and “Destroy at All Cost” are simple, searing punk anthems that draw a line in the sand: Either you get Don’t Believe on its first listen or you’re out of reach.

Either way is okay for Mew Mexican Disaster Squad, as this album’s not about making friends or establishing a spot in the scene. It’s about punk rock, pure and simple. With the world full of unreliables – gas prices, middle-east instability and Paris Hilton’s next sex scandal – it’s reassuring to know there’s still a few punk bands upon which you can still depend.


Matt Schild