One of the downsides to being in a classic and legendary band is that forever there after everything that you do will be compared to said band. Jesse Michaels will always be remembered for being the voice of Operation Ivy and how could he not. Op Ivy’s Energy is a punk rock classic that sounds as fresh today as it did when it was first released over 20 years ago. Since that time Michaels has performed in the bands Common Rider and Big Rig, and in 2008 formed Classics of Love with members of the band The Hard Girls.
Classics of Love self-titled full-length debut is a scorcher. Front the opening burst of “What a Shame” to the closing chords of “We Need a Change” this album is brilliantly blistering hardcore punk rock. And by hardcore, I’m talking ‘80s, early Dischord type of hardcore, not that heavy metal mess that passes for hardcore these days. There are hints of ska in “Castle in the Sky” and “Bandstand” and lots of hooks in “Gunshow,” though in all honesty the entire record is filled with hooks and catchy riffs (much like early 7 Seconds records). The lyrics are what you’d expect from Michaels, passionate and dealing with a variety of social and political issues, but doing it in a way that makes them timeless.
Classics of Love will probably always be plagued by the ghost of Operation Ivy (which if one was to be plagued by a ghost, Op Ivy is certainly a good one to be shackled to). Yes the comparisons are there and easy to make, but this band and this record can and should be judged by their own merits. Classics of Love have produced one hell of a fantastic record that should become as much of a classic and staple as Energy. I can’t wait to see what this band does next!