In 2013, the end of the road seemed nigh for D.O.A., the seminal Vancouver hardcore punk band fronted by remaining founding member, guitarist and vocalist Joey “Shithead” Keithley. For 35 years, D.O.A. had endured a revolving door of musicians, a break-up and the death of a band member before Keithley’s decision to enter mainstream politics precipitated the announcement of a farewell tour. However, his political foray was unsuccessful so he turned back to his music. The addition of a Kootenay-based rhythm section—drummer Paddy Duddy and bassist Mike Hodsall of BC/DC and Circle the Wagons fame and both from Nelson—rejuvenated the band.
The farewell tour was rebranded as a world tour through Canada, China and Eastern Europe, culminating in the recording of the band’s first studio output since 2012, Hard Rain Falling. Available digitally and on CD and vinyl, the album’s 12 tracks reference the band’s classic punk roots while remaining true to Keithley’s uncompromising social-justice values. Pipelines, cop shootings, racism and street gangs are targeted in songs that vary from hardcore to classic punk, with even a white reggae number reminiscent of The Clash. It’s a raucous and surprisingly melodic and accessible effort by a band clearly enjoying its new lease on life, evidence that the punk aesthetic remains both timeless and vital well into the 21st century.