Album Review: The Ramonas – “First World Problems”
Now well established on the music scene as the premier all-female Ramones covers band, it seems that The Ramonas have decided to step away from da Bruddas template and give writing their own songs a go. It’s safe to say that going into reviewing it, my thoughts were that this is either going to be unexpectedly good, or a total train wreck.
As it turns out, it’s actually a decent enough album. The first thing to put aside though is that sonically the links to Joey, Dee Dee and Johnny aren’t actually as strong here as you’d think. If anything, The Ramonas sound like Skintight era Donnas covering Dragster or Trioxin Cherry, mixing fast pop-punk tunes with some surprisingly political lyrics, as set out in opener 2016 (F**k This). While there’s the odd song here which is pure bruddas such as Zombie Crawl and Ramonas Go To Freiburg, the fact that this album sees them taking potshots at everything from the press (The Daily Fail) through consumer culture (the title track and Cotton Wool Kids) to mid-twenties nervous breakdowns (Quarter Life Crisis), shows that this is definitely a band with their heads screwed on. They even manage to coax none other than Charlie Harper along to add some harmonica to Tearaway.
If there’s a slight criticism to be levelled here, it’s that the material gets a bit samey as the album goes on. Yes, I’m aware that you could very easily say the same about The Ramones, but they were always a bit more of a varied band than people give them credit for (listen to something like Danny Says or I Want You Around), so we’ll put this down to this being a band who are still finding their feet a bit on the songwriting front. And as this is a debut album, that’s forgivable enough – certainly there’s enough promising signs here to point towards a bright future for The Ramonas away from their covers band roots.
You certainly can't fault The Ramonas for their enthusiasm here, and while they're by no means the finished article, this is a promising enough debut album showing a band with plenty of ideas. These are certainly the sort of songs I could see going down well in the live arena so it might just be worth checking these guys out if you see them on a venue listing near you in the near future.