Though they diss critics -- even those who give them good ink -- on their Web site, I'll go out on a limb and say that this is the best record of 30footFALL's nearly decade-long career. Granted, I haven't heard any of their eight previous releases or approximately 20 compilation appearances, but to put it in punk terms, who the fuck has that kind of time anyway? I have seen them live, and the sound and the fury of The Doppler Effect matches their onstage intensity and stands out as a fine release of sheer balls-shattering punk rock intensity.

What sets 30footFALL apart from other more punk-lite acts ("Hey, we looove Blink-182 and New Found Glory!") is their underlying layer of non-nihilistic aggression. Vocalist Butch spits out sufficiently insouciant words over the white-hot musical lightning of guitarist Jason, drummer Brian and the ever-reliable bassist Rubio. And for a band that once named a record for the catalog number of a mail-order crack pipe, they're surprisingly clear-headed and succinct about their sound. (Isn't it terrifying to ponder that somewhere in this great nation of ours, somebody is waiting with bated breath for the mailman, in hopes that today is the day he's finally brought that life-changing crack pipe?) Highlights like the upbeat "Hooray," "Breaking the Weather" and the sounds-of-solitude "Don't Open the Door" all feature a melodic blast that could only be derived from the players' comfortable abandon with one another.

But this despised reviewer also would like to thank the band for including a lyric sheet. Otherwise, said scribe might not have caught the smart sociological lyrics on tracks like "Global Defenestration" ("it's hard to distinguish our government from showbiz"), the anti-heroin rant "Exit" and the why-the-fuck-were-we-worried-about-Y2K tune "Kaboom." This last not only notes that all our planetary problems have continued unabated despite this once-unifying cause, but adds that it's not "geographically possible" that Jesus was white. Take that, you pious portrait painters!

BMXers find a new theme with the rubber-hits-dirt anthem "Two Wheels, One Dark Lord," which is bookended by a seemingly authentic tape of a New Zealand disc jockey enthusing about this "punk band from Tix-ass" that must "play between executions." Finally, stay tuned for the hidden track, an acoustic country-blues lament about eating raw called "Vegan Blues." In this, our patient narrator finds it hard to eat right on the road and threatens to slice the rectum off a dietary critic to make an "asshole stew."

The Doppler Effect finds the venerable punkers in fine, powerful form. The only downside is the occasional lack of musical diversity.

Since the recording, the band has announced the full-time return of Delron (guitar/vocals) and a "rotating" lineup of three drummers. Hopefully they won't all show up for the same gig and demand solos. It would be hard to fit them into a two-and-a-half-minute number.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero