Artist: Tim Armstrong
Title: “A Poet’s Life”
Bay Area punk rock legend Tim Armstrong recruits Los Angeles reggae/ska band The Aggrolites as his backing group on “A Poet’s Life,” his solo debut effort that brings to the surface the ska and reggae influences that were always present in his work.
It’s a platter that passes inoffensively, but simultaneously, doesn’t make much of a lasting impression. Lacking the snarling hooks of Rancid, Operation Ivy or The Transplants, Armstrong drops into a lower gear and makes a record that sounds like more of a passion project than a masterpiece.
The result is a product that is fun. “Translator” rides a groovy reggae beat. “I only wanted what was best for you,” sings Armstrong and a chorus of horns sigh in response to the line.
There are other references Bay Area residents will recognize, as when he notes that the East Bay is “cold as hell in the middle of the summer” during “Among the Dead.”
It’s a little jarring to hear alongside a genre so commonly associated with tropical climates, but given Armstrong’s past dalliances in the genre, it isn’t such a stretch.
Ultimately, if you’re not a devoted fan, this isn’t an essential purchase.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.