Problem Child, Restless When Idle | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Problem Child, Restless When Idle 

Album Review

cd-problemchild.jpg

(Self-released, digital download)

Kids these days.

As a product of Burlington’s punk and hardcore scene in the 1990s, I have a soft spot for the aggro wailings emanating from the local teenage wasteland (OK, I never really looked the part, but I wore out my Jesus Nut and 12 Times Over tapes back in the day). But of all the local scenes, that of high school punk and hardcore is among the most difficult to follow. For one thing, in a musicscape dominated by bars and nightclubs, all-ages gigs are relatively few and far between. When your mom has to drop you off at a show, that’s an issue. Further complicating the matter is the insular nature of the music in general. It’s outsider music, made for and by misfits, freaks and geeks who typically want to avoid attracting attention, lest they be stuffed in a locker or given a swirlie. Man, high school sucks.

There is a third and perhaps more critical issue at play here. Namely, most high school bands are borderline unlistenable. Generally, this is through no fault of their own. Like a fawn clumsily learning to walk, young musicians just need time and practice to find their footing. But there are exceptions to every rule. And currently, a Williston punk trio named Problem Child is one of them.

The band’s debut full-length, Restless When Idle, plays like a throwback to this reviewer’s own halcyon days spent getting tinnitus at 242 Main. Had they existed in 1995, Problem Child likely would have been among my favorite local bands, their songs included on mixtapes alongside Green Day, Operation Ivy and the Queers. Even now, they’re quickly achieving regular rotation in my grown-up iTunes library.

It’s true of most art, but the best punk music is a distillation of raw emotion. Part of the reason the genre has long resonated with youth culture is its presentation of unfiltered angst. Punk is simple, direct and aggressive, rarely bogged down with precious metaphors or overly intimate exposition. In that respect, Problem Child represent all that is good about punk rock. From guitarist and front man Evan Engisch’s Billy Joe Armstrong-esque lazy sneer to Kevin Wilkinson’s romping bass and Matt Decker’s punishing drum work, the band divines the ragged essence of punk attitude.

Problem Child play an all-ages show at the Monkey House in Winooski on Saturday, December 15, with the Murder Weapon, Trapper Keeper and the Outsiders PBR. Restless When Idle is available for free download at problemchildvt.bandcamp.com.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles

Bio:
Dan Bolles is Seven Days' assistant arts editor and also edits What's Good, the annual city guide to Burlington. He has received numerous state, regional and national awards for his coverage of the arts, music, sports and culture. He loves dogs, dark beer and the Boston Red Sox... more

Comments


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Album Review

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2020 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation