As the Decline of Western Civilization comes into full focus, our ears turn once again to Los Angeles. The first proper full length from Smirk could very well be the soundtrack to a Decline pt. IV, with tracks like “Living in Hell” and “Hopeless” delivered for a whole new generation of latchkey kids. ‘Material’ follows 2021’s 100% TOTAL PUNK ‘EP’ and 2020’s ‘LP’, which collected the first two cassettes-de-quarantine that began Nick Vicario’s run as Smirk. If you’ve worn out your copies of those releases, then ‘Material’ needs no further explanation. But if you’re wondering where the magic is – let’s start with pure, quality songwriting. Vicario and his revolving cast of Smirk players have really done it this time. It’s punk, California, paranoia, guitars, rhythm, and a sense of humor-slash-purpose joining forces to combat reality in the truest sense. Smirk have produced an impressive punk encapsulation of the times across the web of sound on ‘Material’.