The members of Lakewood's GC5 aren't old enough to remember when rock was dangerous and only rebels listened to the stuff. But they're doing their damnedest to bring back those days. For the GC5, which formed in early 1996 and released its first album, A More Aggressive Approach Towards Peacekeeping, in 1998, politics and music do mix. The foursome -- singer-guitarist Pete Kyrou, drummer Dave McKean, singer-bassist Doug McKean, and singer-guitarist Chris Yohn -- plays political street punk at its finest on Kisses From Hanoi, which takes its name from a phrase that was found on some old postcards that French soldiers sent home when they were stationed in Vietnam in the '50s.
A sense of urgency blows through the 14 songs on this disc, which was recorded locally at Mars Studio and produced by Ryan Foltz and Bill Korecky. "They're putting up a strip mall where the factory used to be," Kyrou sings in "Currency," a track that takes aim at consumer culture. In similarly themed songs such as "In the End" and "Borrowed Time," the GC5 sticks a pin in the conventional wisdom that implies the economy is getting better. Helping get the message across is the fact that the GC5 is more melodic than most punk rock groups. It's the heir to the Clash, the granddaddy of all politically charged punk bands. It's also a mirror image of friends and frequent tourmates the Hudson Falcons, and you can hear elements of the Irish punk band the Dropkick Murphys, too. Working-class heroes to the core, the GC5, which is in the midst of a national tour, speaks for anyone who has been downsized, rightsized, or outsourced.