Dag Nasty – Minority of One

Dag Nasty
Minority of One

It’s been a good year for punk rock thus far. Well, okay … we did lose a couple of legends, which wasn’t so great, but we also got to witness the triumphant returns of both Bad Religion, with The Process of Belief, and Face to Face, with How to Ruin Everything. Now comes Minority of One, the first release in over a decade from Dag Nasty, and maybe it is surprising, maybe it isn’t, but they sound as good as ever. For younger people like myself who may be more familiar with the other bands these guys are in, Dag Nasty features guitarist Brian Baker of Bad Religion, singer Dave Smalley of All and Down By Law, as well as bassist Roger Marbury and drummer Colin Sears. To add to the list of vintage punk rock connections, Minority of One was produced by Brian Baker and Minor Threat bassist Steve Hansgen, and engineered at the legendary Inner Ear by Don Zientara. So there is your background info. Hope you enjoyed it.
What better way to start off the album than with the tremendous and blistering “Ghosts.” This song, along with others like “Minority of One” and “Throwing Darts,” can easily be compared to Baker’s work with Bad Religion, while moments like “Your Words” and the unlisted 12th track display the more playful and poppy vibe Smalley brings from his work with All. The band chemistry throughout the entire album rivals that of any classic punk group, with the four guys showing that they have not lost a single step over the past 10 years. Minority of One can easily be ranked up there with the band’s essential Can I Say record, but with a heightened sense of maturity, which one could say is to be expected 10 years later. Oh, and by the way, the aforementioned Can I Say is being re-released after being re-mastered and having new tracks added, along with Wig Out at Dinkos, by the band’s original label, Dischord. Now you know.
Smalley’s lyrics take on everything from haunting memories to life in a cubicle to choosing your own path, all with an obviously strong sense of compassion. “He looks back to the days when the lyrics and chords meant everything / These days he stares at the screen so complacent and without dreams,” Smalley sings on “Average Man,” making almost any listener want to quit their job and start a punk band. Behind him, the rest of the band pounds away, tight as can be, blending hardcore speeds with melodic rock hooks, with the sort of perfect punk sound that only comes from the many years of experience these guys have accumulated. And yet with this more “mature” sound, they have not lost any of the energy and aggression they are known for.
If you were already a Dag Nasty fan, Minority of One is an obvious must-have, because you have been waiting for quite some time. If you are a fan of the poppy punk acts of today, Minority of One is necessary in understanding where all of your favorite bands came from and what their influences are. And if you are looking for an introduction to punk rock, Minority of One is not a bad place to start. But this is not just a bunch of middle-aged punks trying to rehash something they did a decade ago. It revives the feelings of the era they started out in, while simultaneously pushing forward and leading the way, once again, for those who wish to follow.