Ill Repute


Big Rusty Balls

Ill Repute - Big Rusty Balls ©1993 Dr. Strange
1. Hold On
2. Stop It Now
3. Jamie Just
4. She's Gone
5. Not That Way
6. She Did
7. Out Of Mind
8. American Girl
9. Above My Head
10. Down
11. Back To Back
12. It's Real
13. Can't Believe My Eyes
14. Time
15. 'Dat Marley Song

After toiling around for quite a few years in the Oxnard, California, skatepunk scene, Ill Repute resurfaced in 1993 with an album that was light years ahead of anything they had released before. Their 80s albums, released on Doug Moody's infamously horrible Mystic Records, were a hodgepodge of decent to outrageously amateurish recordings. However, the band sheds all the shackles of their past on this Dr. Strange release.

Big Rusty Balls features fifteen bouncy, catchy and energetic poppy punk songs. Ill Repute, at that time, still featured original vocalist/guitarist John P. (who was no longer in the band during their tour in late 1993), who shares lead vocals duties with the other guitarist, Tony C. Between the two, Tony C. provides the more interesting appoach. Although he underenunciates, his gruff, Mike Muir-ish voice conveys the melodies in a more convincing fashion. The band's main strength lies in their ability to put forth bopping, hopping, fun anthemic punk songs that encourage youngsters to throw their bodies around in circles in pits while singing along with every word. The amount of songs here that qualify for singalong status is staggering. Nearly every song is highly enjoyable and catchy in the best sense of the word. Unlike some of their counterparts who found considerably more success during the upcoming poppunk explosion a year later, Ill Repute still retains a grittier, more streetwise appoach to a sound that is very easily steeped in generic cliche approaches.

While other bands may have reached greater public awareness, Ill Repute still issued one of the most enjoyable records of the style in the early 90s. Punkers who aren't too good for poppunk are well advised to seek out Big Rusty Balls.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2002

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Bleed

Ill Repute - Bleed ©1997 The Edge
1. Fallen
2. Stuck
3. Pist
4. Bleed
5. Dead-end Street
6. Book
7. Broken
8. Roots
9. Stern 4 Prez
10. Keep Your Head
11. American Girl
12. Tease
13. Cherokee
14. Eric
15. Kicked Off
16. Clean Cut

One of the longer running punk outfits around, it's kind of a shame that Ill Repute hasn't gotten its dues or as much notice as they deserve. Playing a brand of semi-melodic and breakneck punkcore, these guys could easily appeal to fans of the more popular "punk" bands making waves these days.

Singer/guitarist Tony Cortez is now handling all the vocals on the album and those who remember John P.'s vocals will probably admit Tony is a better singer. His voice is gruff, but has some nice emotion and power. Meanwhile, the band continues playing songs of crunchiness and velocity. In fact, I believe the band is playing faster now than they have since their early days (refer to "Pist", "Tease" or "Bleed") but still coming up with those killer catchy riffs (check out "Kicked Off" or the ska-tinged-in-a-good-way "Roots"). There are also a couple remakes of older covers, namely "American Girl" and "Cherokee", with the latter sounding improved but not the former. Regardless of that minor blemish, it's good to hear these guys again!

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 06/1998

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And Now...

Ill Repute - And Now... ©1998 The Edge
1. And Now...
2. Inside
3. Tweaked
4. United
5. D. Spair
6. Alone
7. Open Window
8. I Remember
9. Awaken
10. Lifer
11. Sleepwalking
12. Here We Are
13. Understand My Way
14. On Your Own
15. Surrender

Charging forth at exactly 103 mph (don't ask me for the metric conversion), Ill Repute continue right where Bleed left off, maintaining their standard of high-charged playing and solid songwriting. "And Now..." affirms the Nardcore scene before leading the pack of energtic slam-fests. Comparitively speaking, Ill Repute is on the same playing field as Pennywise insofar as writing those sort of anthemic ragers, though I still liken Tony Cortez's voice to Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies. Highlights, and there are many, include "Here We Are" (a current cultural tag of Jerry Springer), "Alone", "I Remember", and "Lifer". They also cover Cheap Trick's "Surrender", though Big Drill Car did a much better version on a split seven inch years ago. Ill Repute has proven that they are improving with age while not letting go of one iota of their energy, conviction or ability to write a good song.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 06/1998

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