“It’s the start of a revolutionary band and revolutionary music lovers; people that are interested in entertainment. As miserable as we may seem, fans of truthful entertainment are absolutely discontent and miserable as well. We and the CKY Alliance are these fans. I deem the previous generation, that of pre CKY, officially labeled Generation Overdone. CKY and their fans are revolutionaries of the new Generation of Change.”
—Chad I. Ginsburg
CKY is band that, according to its website, thinks very highly of itself. Proclamations that their third album, Infiltrate.Destroy.Rebuild, will all but revolutionize the music industry are proof of that. Yet, while such exaggerated confidence is a little much, CKY have the chops to back it up.
As the skateboarding revelers providing much of the soundtrack to MTV’s oft-reviled Jackass, CKY already has a large following on the back of their two previous albums, Volume 1 and Volume 2. Critically lauded, for the most part, Volume 1 went on to sell 100,000 copies, before the Jackass phenomenon began to lose its appeal and the band faded from view. The punk-y glitz of those two albums remains on Infiltrate, but the boys have definitely used their time away from the television screen to develop their sound, creating an album of expert modern rock tunes, bursting with intelligent (if a pinch melodramatic) lyrics and first-rate, progressive musical experimentation.
Infiltrate is impossible to label, with CKY giving practically every rock sub-genre a go. “Sporadic Movement” hints at modern goth-rock, “Close Yet Far” is a sultry pop-rock ballad, “Plastic Plan” wouldn’t seem out of place in a dance club, and “Escape From Hellview”, “Flesh into Gear”, and “Frenetic Amnesic” are neat heavy rock tunes. CKY succeed in each of these songs to create something genuinely different and engaging, moving swiftly from pulsating guitars to computerized beats, with singer Deron Miller’s vocals just as deftly shifting from caustic ranting to silky philosophizing.
Lyrically, the band is just as impressive, with the boys opting for songs about the decaying state of humanity, rather than odes to ex-girlfriends or a corrupt governmental structure. The songs (co-written with Miller by band members Chad I. Ginsburg and Jess Margera) are relentlessly dark, yet beautifully written, observant and real. “I can hear the sound of the city / Sunrise and set are the same to me / A hesitating pulse is good company / And my reflection offers no apology”, Miller sings on “Close Yet Far”, a gentle, yet scathing story of breaking away.
Many of the songs on Infiltrate deal with this need for some kind of freedom. Miller’s often speaks of being tortured, whether as part of a coupling, within society or on his own. “Deep incision operation / The tortured one becoming two / Involuntary, solitary / It’s nice to have a point of view”, he sings on “Attached at the Hip” before complaining “Everybody’s after me / You could be the enemy / You seem too happy to reveal yourself / There’s no resentment here” on “Frenetic Amnesic” and “I can’t breathe / I can’t get this out / I don’t know and I can’t explain . . . You can talk about the only way out / I know it’s gonna get me” on “Sink into the Underground”.
“Escape From Hellview”—one of the album’s standout tracks—further demonstrates Miller’s taste for the macabre with “I’m finding my friends hanging from trees / Made a bed of a barbed-wire fence / I’m on the loose / With my neck in the noose / But, hey, I like the intense”.
And then there’s “Flesh into Gear”, on which Miller could very well be relating his band’s vision for its future: “Flesh into gear / Myself appears / Dissected and pretentious / A simple sound / A heavy side / Could win the whole world over”.
Insatiable melodies, catastrophic beats, and Miller’s hungry vocals make for an incredible mix. All this and its competent melding of tastes, puts CKY far ahead of any rock contemporaries. The album demonstrates the band’s refusal to bend to any popular music conventions that may have been expected due to its rise as part of the MTV conglomerate, and its new status as major label babies.
// Notes from the Road
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