ALBUM REVIEW: Grade 2 – Grade 2


Ryde, a seaside town located on the Isle of Wight is home to former BBC sports presenter turned controversial conspiracy theorist David Icke – it also happens to be where the young trio by the name of Grade 2 originate from. Formed in 2013 at the tender age of 14, the band is comprised of childhood friends Sid Ryan (vocals/bass), Jacob Hull (drums), and Jack Chatfield (guitar/vocals) who united over their love of classic Punk Rock, Ska and O!


Grade 2 is the band’s third full-length album to date and follows 2019’s Graveyard Island. The band are currently signed to Tim Armstrong‘s (Operation Ivy/Rancid) label Hellcat Records which also hosts the likes of Charged GBH, Necromantix, Horrorpops, and Danny Diablo (Skarhead/Crown of Thornz), so they are in good company.



‘Judgement Day’ combines Horror Punk and post-Punk vibes, catchy, tuneful with bags of dynamics to boot and a pretty decent way with which to commence the album. ‘Fast Pace’ reminds me of legendary bands such as proto-punks The Dictators and their brand of AC/DC hard-rock style riffing which is no bad thing while ‘Under the Streetlight’ feels like the bastard offspring of bands such as The Business, Cock Sparrer, and The Dropkick Murphys


Despite not being a fan of Oi! personally, the band nonetheless give the genre a fresh more contemporary twist. ‘Doesn’t Matter Much Now’ is all out melodic punk that Buzzcocks fans will undoubtedly lap up and ‘Midnight Ferry’ at times recalls the type of anthemics that you’d find present on most Bad Religion tracks. 


‘Brassic’ is English slang for having no money and soundwise has a riff that has one thinking one of the legendary garage-punks Laughing Hyenas (albeit sans John Brannon‘s harsh vocals) as well as a little Stooges/MC5 thrown in for good measure, which for these very reasons mark it out as one of my favourite tracks on the album. ‘Gaslight’ is the record’s shortest number at a mere fifty-eight seconds long, reminiscent of Operation Ivy’s sprightlier moments it helps introduce a very much needed change of pace and ‘Don’t Stand Alone’ is a somewhat uplifting slab of punk-pop. 


Considering that the band are signed to Hellcat its unsurprising therefore that ‘Streetrat Skallywag’ bares more than a passing resemblance to Rancid, I also thought of the aforementioned Operation Ivy’s track ‘Gonna Find You’. ‘Parasite’ recalls legendary Texan hardcore outfit The Dicks, parts of the track not terribly dissimilar to ‘Rich Daddy’ and ‘Its a Mad World, Baby’ tips its hat to DC melodic hardcore acts such as Marginal Man with some Clash thrown in along the way. Not bad at all. 


Like ‘Gaslight’, ‘Doing Time’ is more hardcore punk orientated with lyrics centering around the evils of corporations, not exactly novel lyrical fare for the genre. ‘Celine’ I enjoyed as it contained shades of The Descendents’ early work, possibly one of the few bands in the pop-punk genre who is worthy of anyone’s time. ‘See You Around’ has elements of The Offspring contained within it especially in the vocal department and with the band demonstrating a little more musical diversity via the use of an organ that helps round off the track. ‘Bottom Shelf’ is another of the album’s quicker tunes and concludes proceedings in a no-nonsense fashion that feels entirely appropriate. 


Admittedly while not really my style of punk (I’m more a eighties US Hardcore kinda guy), I found the album to be a very well-performed and entertaining listen which even an elitist douche such as myself could be persuaded to stick on from time to time. 


Buy the album here:

7 / 10