As a rule, I don't review music you can't immediately sample yourself in the event you want to make sure I'm not full of shit. You all work hard for your money, and I don't want to be responsible for you wasting it on sucky music. I've adhered to a "digital only" review policy on the grounds that it's in everyone's best interest. But I have been known to make exceptions in very special cases. Such an exception has been made for the self-titled album by Greendales. I could not request access to a digital version of this album for the simple reason that no such thing exists. Released on Mom's Basement Records, this album is a 100% vinyl-only issue. There are 200 copies on clear vinyl and 200 on yellow. That's it. There are no CDs, cassettes, 8-track tapes, or digital downloads available. You won't find it on any digital music service. There are no digital tracks floating around for me to embed. What this means is that you will all have to pretend it's 1995 again and trust my judgment. But I feel like that's not much of an ask in the case of Greendales, who have celebrated the 27th anniversary of the release of the first Riverdales album by covering it in its entirety. Greendales are essentially a Mom's Basement Records supergroup. The lineup is the alien and the basement from the SUCK along with Brody from Proton Packs. Any person who would be interested in owning a cover of a Riverdales album would most likely already be a fan of the SUCK and Proton Packs. And it's hard to deny that this was a really awesome idea for an album!
I would personally consider the first Riverdales album to be the all-time gold standard for the genre that would later become known as Ramonescore (although I won't take exception to anyone who argues that Storm the Streets is better). Has it really been 27 years since it came out? Well the math sure works out. And I can clearly remember picking up my landline phone and calling my local compact disc store to see if they had the album in stock, so that tells you how much the world has changed since then. When you're dealing with such legendary material, your first duty is to not screw it up. That's mission accomplished for Greendales, who cover this album with textbook execution. Your second duty is to put your own twist on the songs — but not too much of a twist. Again, I feel like Greendales have succeeded. They approach these songs faithfully — but no so faithfully that the album is pointless. The thing that makes the first Riverdales album hold up for me is the way it balances the punk rock side of the Ramones with their pure pop side. Not every Ramonescore band of today would have the stuff to accentuate that yin/yang quality of the Riverdales. Yet Greendales absolutely do. They prove themselves to be a well-rounded punk-pop band as they gleefully tear into this album's straight-up bangers and embrace the melodic majesty of some of the slower tracks. If you're a fan of the SUCK and/or Proton Packs and think it would be cool to hear these guys cover the Riverdales, you will not be disappointed. What I appreciate is that listening to this album has given me an enhanced appreciation for the original album. It made me want to go back and listen to it again, and it made me remember how much I love it. Also, I find it interesting that while I'm not always keen on Ramonescore, I seem to be writing rave reviews any time the basement is involved. Never underestimate the value of a great drummer!
Summing up: Greendales have covered the classic first Riverdales album in its entirety. It's only available on vinyl and is limited to 400 copies. It went on sale moments ago via Mom's Basement Records and will likely sell out quickly. If you're a super fan of Ramonescore, the Mom's Basement label, or these guys' other bands, you're going to want to snag one of these bad boys pronto. Trust me.