“To call ‘Remain Intact’ the work of an auteur might not be the proper usage of the term, but I can think of nothing else to call a piece of art expressing a singular vision with such perfection. GG King is a band first and foremost, but this LP is Greg King’s mind cracked open like a melon for all of us to peer into, from the music, to the lyrics, to the carefully constructed artwork. He’s assembled a crack unit of ATL’s finest players to help him articulate this vision, and under the peerless guidance of Ryan (Dinosaur) Bell they have created a record that will appeal to any rocker with a soul, heart and/or mind. Heshers, punkers, hardcores, powerpoppers, garage turkeys, everyone is welcome and should find something to love here. 13 tracks clocking in at around some of the most rewarding 40 minutes of music you’re going to listen to this year, with a companion cassette filled with bonus material that most bands would be releasing as their masterpiece LP.
It’s difficult to find a punk record invested with any sort of real personality or emotional heft these days, but King somehow does just that without sacrificing any rock’n’roll power. The title track is slice of upbeat power-pop with a hard punk edge and a King-sized hook. “God’s Chalk” makes me stumble for a description, and instead just blurt out punk-death-rock-metal like some kind of boob. “Golden Horde Rising” is straight garage thrash. Heavy stuff. Visceral thrills aside, it’s songs like “Cul de Sac” that really get your mind cranking – lyrical subtleties about pride in your home and neighborhood and their defense against the spectre of evil we are all too familiar with these days played out aside a dirgey doom-rock background. “Epoch Rock” encapsulates the current American mindspace in a 5-minute garage-punk song. It’s themes like this where the record truly excels – for as much of a rocking affair it is, it also provides plenty to think about – it’s a record indirectly about him, and therefore us – about the fears of growing old and obsolete, the creeping darkness that looms around the current American landscape and seeks to poke its tendrils into our daily lives, the feeling when you realize that your life is probably made up of more memories than it is remaining living moments. Listen to “Timesick (Doom and Gloom Part 3)” and think hard about what you’ve been doing with your own time. And even as though those darker themes recur, there’s also a warmth to the whole proceeding – memories are wonderful things to hold, and I imagine it’s by no mistake the second to last song is a Carbonas tune Greg wrote twenty years ago with his now departed friend BJ Womack, here given a wonderful reprise. And look no further than the insert picture of the band and their families laying together in what I like to the think is the same cul de sac referred to earlier. That’s what this record is really about – no matter what tidal wave of shit is barreling down at all of us these days, don’t let it wash away your life, your soul, what you live for, who you live for – remain intact against it all. REMAIN INTACT.