If there was any justice in the world (or if the internet didn’t exist and I was writing this for a zine, which is what I should be doing) The Max Levine Ensemble would be taking over the torch from Washington D.C.’s much loved, much discussed and highly defunct Fugazi. Perhaps one of the first bands from a generation that followed my own that I began to notice, The Max Levine Ensemble have made their way in the world of punk rock on their own terms. Influenced more by the power of doing what they want then by the complicated world of the “Dischord Scene,” The Max Levine Ensemble continues the tradition of a rich, historical punk rock scene from our nations capitol.
What keeps them from playing the VFW halls to thousands of kids is the climate of music these days. Where the world is more interested in trading remixes of MP3’s or stealing albums off the internet of who and whatever, the independent minded kids of The Max Levine operate on a template that is becoming vastly forgotten. However, it is this belief and love for all the things that make punk rock great that also makes The Max Levine Ensemble so endearing and the cheeky titled Ok Smarty-pants is a fun listen because of this love, despite the odds.
The album comes at you fast and furious, similar to Bomb the Music Industry’s Get Warmer and holds tightly to its love for power chords, gangly vocals, breakdowns and raucous drumming. Ok Smarty-pants is the Ensemble’s most frenetic album to date and may cause anxiety, twitching or the uncontrollable need to pogo about in public. Spoonboy spits out his lyrics with a rapid fire tongue to add more to the over all uncontrollable energy The Max Levine Ensemble harnesses and lets explode.
I am glad this band is from DC; they show a lot of promise and are fun as all hell. In a city that is plagued with accusations of being very insular and serious The Max Levine Ensemble is not the exception to the rule, but proof that the rule is total fucking bullshit. While they will never be asked to headline Warped Tour (thank god) The Max Levine’s dose of catchy, fast paced punk rock will hopefully win over kids across the lands in basements and churches one by one.