Respect your elders
Punk supergroup to appear at Billy O’s
By David Cotner 10/25/2012
“Once Was I.” “Life Passes.” “These Walls.” Those are the titles of the songs written by pop-punk “supergroup” Implants. And yet these songs don’t sound like they’re by men who feel particularly super. They sound like they’re by men who finally feel the passage of time. It’s not that the pop-punk pioneers among us are growing up.
Reinforced adolescence is as cheap and limitless as entertainment as anything Huxley ever came up with in Brave New World. It’s that the members of Implants — Jim Blowers, Ken Conte, Chris Dalley, Chris Del Rio and Rob Ramos — are growing old. They know this. They feel it — to a man, in their bones. So is “melodic punk rock ‘n’ roll” a battle cry or a retirement plan? These days, it’s impossible to tell if something like their band’s stated location of Beverly Hills on Punkrockers.com is serious or not.
Formed nearly two years ago by bassist Del Rio of Ten Foot Pole and guitarist Blowers of Pulley, the duo reached out to Rob Ramos of Strung Out, drummer Chris Dalley of Voodoo Glow Skulls and singer Ken Conte of The Tank. Many of these musicians are entering their third decade as artists. The clarity of vocals, harmonies and recording on their debut effort work in parallel to the retrospective introspection of the songs — they know that time is not their friend, that this clarity may soon be blotted out by shortness of breath and inelasticity of muscle.
This is, however, not the same thing as a lack of resolve.
Even as effortless as pop-punk is made to seem by its creators — a sleight of hand that mirrors youthfulness itself — it’s still an effort. To put five men together — because families and responsibilities are as much a necessity as the crafting of a worthwhile hook — on the road even as old habits die hard is a challenge unto itself. This takes time, and plenty of it. Touring necessarily fits into their respective schedules, twisting their available blocks of time like advanced Tetris. It’s not as easy as once it was out there in America. Fans grow up. Tastes start to differ. Things change. In that blessed turn of irony, however,these songs will remain precisely as they are as long as there’s youth to whom they can speak. These are songs for the ages — even if those ages are 12 to 25. Do not mistake the Implants’ latest adventures in songwriting for regret — nostalgic and ruminative, yes, but not regret. To look at the collective energies of these five musicians over time is to see a family of lives intertwined. These are men that have gone out into the world adventuring. They have taken their fans with them on that adventure. They are here representing life lived, in the present, for the people who have youth yet in their veins and sinews and hearts.
Mute on the Floor presents Implants with special guests Below Empty, The Loads and Sharks and Cobras on Friday, Oct. 26, at Billy O’s.