Album Review: Descendents – 9th & Walnut

Descendents are a well known punk band who have been doing the rounds for decades – they’ve recently released a new album titled 9th & Walnut, made up of songs that are mostly unreleased tracks and rarities. Recorded back in 2002 with the bands original four-piece line-up, before guitarist Frank Vavetta sadly passed away in 2008, it features 18 songs, most never heard or released, that date back to the bands earliest material written from 1977 through to 1980.

By Jane Howkins

So it’s not so much a new album, but more a collection of rarities and unreleased songs. Diehard fans will lap this up but to be perfectly honest, it probably isn’t the best album for new fans or those looking to get into the band for the first time. There are some good tracks here and it does display Descendents’ sound well, but it does seem a little bloated at times (despite the short length of most of the songs) due to the amount of tracks on offer and for first time listeners we would instead recommend checking out the classic album Milo Goes To College.

Most of the songs here are snappy pop-punk songs – Descendents were one of the very first punk bands to incorporate a poppy and melodic sound into their music, and the tracks here are no different. Most of these tracks were actually written before the band got famous so it’s interesting to hear them this way – the songs do sound a little juvenile at times and the production quality is a little raw for something recorded in 2004, but that’s almost to be expected.

If you’re a diehard fan then you should get this, but if you’re a newer fan then we would recommend checking out some of their other music first, before checking out 9th & Walnut. It’s worth checking out, but Milo Goes To College remains the definite Descendents album by a long shot.