Home Read Albums Of The Week: Grade 2 | Grade 2

Albums Of The Week: Grade 2 | Grade 2

The fourth time's the charm for the Isle of Wight power trio — produced by Rancid's Tim Armstrong, their self-titled set delivers 15 short, sharp shots of old-school punk.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Some 50 years after the genre turned the music world upside-down, Grade 2 bring the raw power of old-school punk to a new generation. Their second release on Tim Armstrong’s legendary Hellcat Records is a thumping 15-track tour de force melding the uncompromising ethos of punk with the howl of contemporary injustice, personal identity and frustrations of Gen-Z youth, authentically told by three lads with punk coursing through their veins.

Formed on their native Isle of Wight when they were just 14 years old, Jack Chatfield (guitar and vocals), Jacob Hull (drums) and Sid Ryan (bass and vocals) honed their craft covering punk pioneers before creating a sound uniquely theirs: 10 years on, the eponymous Grade 2 is their magnus opus. From the complex rhythms and brutal two-note guitar of opening track Judgement Day, the record grabs by the scruff of the neck and never lets up.

With a commitment to the cause, lead single Doing Time is a thunderous hardcore punk track screaming: “Spoon feed me corporate lies; I left that place with a noose to my neck.” Intertwined are upbeat bangers (Under the Streetlight, Celine), classic pop-punk (Don’t Stand Alone, Fast Pace), and savage old-school grit (Parasite, Gaslight). The result is a bone-crunching 35-minutes that agitates, intoxicates and liberates in equal measure.

“Like everyone else, 2020 left us proper fucked off,” says Ryan. “Yet we were able to channel every ounce of that despair into every second of this record.” Adds guitarist Chatfield: “Returning to Ship Rec Studio resparked that magic dynamic. When we’re in there I feel like we reach our full potential. Tim would offer tweaks and tips for some songs, while others he’d compliment as finished first time we played them.” Says Hull: “We worked flat-out recording this record, but we never felt pressured — Tim (was) keeping us in the zone to make the best tunes of our lives.”

Famed for blistering live performances and exceptional musicianship, the band have consolidated the essence of their live show in Grade 2. Tune in and turn up. Here’s a record to rattle your bones, stir your heart and have you singing till you’re hoarse like it’s the first day of punk.”