What's striking about "Malcolm X Park," a reissue from former Arlington, Va., residents Unrest, are the subversions that Mark Robinson and his band get away with. Originally released in 1988, the CD's freedom is obvious and immediate; this is punk, the "new thing," fresh refuse from the blank generation. Reagan was in the White House and Michael Jackson ruled the airwaves, but somehow Robinson & Co. were able to come up with a stirring musical curveball while still having a laugh.
The bread-and-butter tracks are the hardcore stabs that shift between nervous-teen-age-boy energy and nervous-adult-looking-for-more release. But it's the nonsensical rants, spoken-word segments, rockabilly segues, movie samples and pop-torrid love songs that give "Malcolm X Park" its edge. Apparently, punk is not a repetitive musical style for Robinson.
This disc illustrates punk's brilliant fusion of irony and honesty, and the fact that punk is an open world where Robinson feels at home pairing KISS' "Strutter" to Fugazi-esque lyrics, and upside-down Zeppelin riffs to bar-band middle fingers.