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Classic Album Review: H20 | Go

The punks buy into the major-label approach — without abandoning their old ways.


This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


When punk bands sign major-label deals, the results are usually inevitable: Their tunes get tighter and more commercial, their production gets bigger and slicker, and they start to sound pretty much like every other major-label punk band. In short, they basically abandon all the individuality and raw power that made them a punk band in the first place.

New York fivesome H20 — fronted by former Sick of it All roadie Toby Morse — seem the latest victims of this ignoble fate on their fourth disc Go, their major-label debut after albums for indies Epitaph and Blackout. On early cuts like Role Model, Self Reliable and Well Behaved, the harmonies are a tad too on-key, the performances a little too perfect. Stick around till midset, however, and a strange change occurs — as if the suits suddenly left the room, the boys revert to their old ways, dumping the slick popcore and high-range harmonies for plenty of hyperspeed wallop and skatepunk power. Even the kitschy hidden cover of Madonna’s Like A Prayer isn’t enough to ruin it. H20 may have bought in to the major-label approach, but so far they haven’t completely sold out their old punk ways.