DC’s GroundScore plays a brand of reggae punk fusion reminiscent of Sublime, 311 and Goldfinger. The trio, consisting of frontman and guitarist Zach Bellas, drummer Chase Lapp and bassist Nick Graves, formed in 2008. A series of jam sessions convinced the band to record an album and hit the road.
Healthy Children, the band’s genre-melding debut album, will have you looking for your 40 ounces to freedom and asking “who’s got the herb?” The music alternates between laid-back, upstroking jam sessions and frenetic thrash punk. Healthy Children kicks off with two reggae-infused james, “Tattoos & Porn” and “Don’t Pay Me,” before breaking down into a minute of mosh-pit punk, a pattern that repeats over the 12 song disc.
“Hey Kidz / Real Love” is the album’s centerpiece, a 7-minute epic that touches on the album’s overarching theme, the ironies of so-called “healthy children” growing up America. It begins with an Offspring-esque blast of energy, before settling into a groove that allows Bellas to pull out a few solos. “You Deserve It” is emblematic of the album as a whole, as the band seamlessly blends its diverse influences into a cohesive sound.
GroundScore isn’t reinventing the wheel, but for fans of alternative rock in the mid-90s, Healthy Children is a welcome return of sun-soaked SoCal punk. In true punk style, they will be headlining a show at the Red and Black on Friday the 13th.