The Oversight – Far From Gone

The Oversight-52

   The Oversight hails from Boston and through the release of a couple of singles has been gaining quite a bit of attention it seems. They now release debut EP Far From Gone and having been quite captivated by its accomplished sound and skilled mesh of alternative rock and pop punk, it is not too hard to see why people are drawn to the band.

The band consists of vocalist/bassist Lucas Edwards, guitarist/vocalist Ryan Watanabe, lead guitarist Maggie Fraser, and drummer Josh Parra, a group of students at Berklee College of Music. Taking inspirations from the likes of Mayday Parade, You Me At Six, Go Radio, Angels & Airwaves, Brand New, The Wonder Years, and Paradise Fears into their compositions, The Oversight has had references to bands such as The Gaslight Anthem and Pierce The Veil, another influence, cast over them. A pair of singles earlier in the year in the shape of When 5 AM Turns and Far From Gone made potent teasers and attention grabbing lures to the new EP. Its quintet of tracks, which includes those two songs, carries on the strong emergence of the band, all soaked in a promise and craft which suggests bright horizons ahead for the Massachusetts quartet.

The track Collective starts things off, the relatively short song an introduction to the emotional intent of the release. With a spoken narrative over a melodic weave which increases in intensity and passion, it is a decent start to the DIGITIAL theoversight_farfromgone_cover_finalencounter if not fully convincing. That reservation is soon lost with the entry of Black & White. A lone guitar and the potent voice of Edwards make the first coaxing before the song opens out with bold rhythms and a wash of melodic enterprise which lures in even closer attention. The track does not explode in action at any point but ebbs and flows in energy and intensity with a skilled touch. It continues to stroll engagingly, providing a firmer rock invention entwined with an infectious pop punk relish which never breaks free of its rein but tempts throughout the highly enjoyable song.

The following Love Is A Fiction similarly makes a low key entrance, a guitar stroking ears with a jangling persuasion as keys add their respectful reflection to the growing presence of the track. Vocally Edwards again impresses, strongly backed by the tones of Watanabe, whilst the imaginative weave of melodies and understated hooks make for a compelling enticement. As its predecessor, the song does not exactly light a flame in ears or passions but certainly has them enthralled by its intelligent design and skilful presentation, increasingly more so as it grows and impresses the more you share time with its open qualities.

When 5 AM Turns soon shows why it made a great impression with its release earlier in the year. Once more there is a slow coaxing to start things off, something the band seems to like employing, before the track erupts into an exciting stomp of crisp and muscular rhythms against stirring riffs and melodically sculpted hooks. That alone wakes up a real appetite for the encounter, a hunger enthused further by the sweep of strings which add provocative texture and adventure to the proposition. There is an invention to the song too which, less open on its predecessors, just lifts ears and satisfaction up in its persuasive arms.

The title track brings the release to a close, and yes it makes a gentle first beckoning before a rhythmic teasing leads into a blaze of raw riffs and a melody fuelled maze of enterprise. Featuring guest vocals from AJ Perdomo of The Dangerous Summer, the track virtually dances on ears; it’s at times skittish gait and thrust of passionate intensity adding to the drama and lure of the song. Though not quite matching the previous track, it shows more of the strengths of the band in songwriting and their undeniable potential to help ensure a healthy anticipation of their adventures ahead is left behind.

For pop punk with a fresh rock and emotional instinct, The Oversight is a band to watch and their first offering something worthy of spending plenty of time with. There will be good times ahead with the band you suspect.

The self-released Far From Gone EP is available now @ http://www.theoversight.bandcamp.com/

http://www.facebook.com/TheOversightBand

7.5/10

RingMaster 22/07/2014

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Of Us Giants – Nova Scotia

Of Us Giants Photo by Kitten Cabada Photography

Of Us Giants Photo by Kitten Cabada Photography

    You know when you get so excited you drool a little well Nova Scotia is one of those albums which figuratively achieves the same result. The prize offering from California alternative rock band Of Us Giants, the eleven track release is an energy driven vivacious stroll of melodic and expressive rock brought by a band you can only expect to hear much more of in the future. Impressive and infectiously enjoyable from song to potent song, the album strikingly builds on the band’s acclaimed debut release the Stitch EP, a record which has drawn comparisons to the likes of Balance and Composure, Manchester Orchestra, and Brand New to the Of Us Giants sound.

   Formed in 2012, the Turlock hailing trio of vocalist/guitarist Dustin Andrews, bassist/vocalist Jonathan Jennings, and drummer Sam Battista has found a healthy buzz around themselves, in no small part because of the aforementioned EP. Anticipation for their debut full-length has been eager to say the least and now with its digital and vinyl release via numerous labels and exclusively here in the UK by Close To Home Records, feeds and transcends all expectations.

     Opener Liar takes a mere second to entrap attention and an instantly brewed appetite, its rhythmic enticement a potent ofusgiants_novascotiabeckoning soon enhanced by rich guitar bred hooks and bass spawned throaty temptation. Once the excellent expressive tones of Andrews add their presence the song makes a strong suasion which only increases its power and heights with an anthemic spiral of dual vocals and fiery melodics at its heart. It is a song which you just do not realise how much it has infected the imagination and memory until it has passed by, it an irresistible weave of sinews, rhythmic and emotionally, with evocative melodies and soaring sonics.

     The immense start is not quite equalled by the next up Sycamore Tomb, certainly initially but again it is a devious little treat which just grips and lingers longer in the psyche the more you initially embrace it. Whereas its predecessor had a touch of Placebo to it, the second song with choppy scythes of guitar and intensive bass prompting shows where those Brand New references emerge from. Agreeably anthemic in all the right places, no note of breath wasted without a full dose of temptation, it is succeeded by Iron Boat. The first of two songs featuring the vocals of Lindsey Pavao, a semi-finalist in the US version of The Voice apparently, the song saunters with a swing to its rhythmic hips and fire to its sonic invention. It is a relatively straight forward slice of melodic rock without any startling element or dramatic hook to its gait to be honest but still offers a vocally varied and pleasing piece of refreshment before the album raises its game again with Take It Home. Sultry melodic guitar coaxing first leads thoughts into its emotive hug with the dual vocals of Andrews and Jennings impressing. Soon though passionate arms lyrically and musically open up to release flames of resourceful melodic rock with a rawer muscular trait which makes the band a potential attraction across all of the general genre’s sub sections.

     The smouldering persuasion of Dying and the mesmeric enchantment of All of My Daughters brings another absorbing variation to Nova Scotia, the first a passion fuelled slowly building tower of intensity which plays like a blend of Three Days Grace and Sick Puppies whilst its successor with a ridiculously addictive hook to its first few seconds against another dark bassline, casts a spellbinding shadow wrapped irresistible beauty over ears and heart. There is a familiarity to the song which equally niggles and excites, as it is hard to exactly define its source, but it cannot derail the potency and quality of the encounter, it and the previous song virulently infectious pleasures.

  Around the Furline is sculpted with the same kind of irrepressible incitement and bait without losing any individuality against the other songs around it, a Skids like riffing and sonic bait a major toxicity within that trap, whilst the following A Beam Offshore whilst stalking a similar groove to its foregoer flirts further with the passions through strong vocals and eloquent melodic endeavour.

     The more restrained and arguably richer in emotional intrigue presence of Stone Hands is the first moment where the album struggles to raise the same strength in hunger and attention, though it is impossible to deny it is a superbly crafted and musically exposed presence. Its successor Machine Heart also takes time to convince; that is until it expels a punk infused rampancy and bruising to its pop laden adventure where it moves into being another strong proposition.

    The title track completes Nova Scotia and invites Lindsey Pavao for the second time into its midst. An acoustically honed country touched stretch explodes into a fire borne furnace of emotion and intensive sonic design in a song which catches the imagination though again maybe not the passions as forcibly as elsewhere. It does provide a richly satisfying end to an openly outstanding release all the same, an album which declares Of Us Giants as one rather exciting and impressive rock proposal destined to bright horizons.

 

http://ofusgiants.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ofusgiants

9/10

RingMaster 27/01/2104

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Lacey – Outlaws EP

laceyband

Eager to confirm the buzz building around themselves, UK alternative rock band Lacey release their third EP Outlaws, an angst coursing collection of songs which push the already evolving sound and craft of the band up another notch or two. The four track release merges rock and pop for a heated encounter which is arguably light on originality but heavy and rich on passion and enterprise.

Hailing from Nottingham and formed in late 2010, the quartet of Graham Turner (lead vocals, bass), Josh Lewin (guitar & vocals) Pete Maksymiw (guitar) and Dave Pearson (drums, vocals) has earned a fine reputation for their sound and energy through their EPs of last year, What Use Is Wasting Time and Chapters, and live performances which has seen the band play with the likes of The Blackout, Patent Pending, and Erik Chandler (Bowling For Soup). Now the release of Outlaws is set to cement their emerging presence whilst you can only imagine, rustling up a great many more appetites for their enjoyable and potent creativity.

Opener Hometown immediately raises a heat of strong vocals and melodic tantalising from the guitars spiked by firm reserved rhythms. Outlaws_1Building up to a mini crescendo the song relaxes into a vibrant stride of prodding drums and descriptive riffs whilst the delivery of Turner adds an emotive glaze to the proposition.  It is an instantly engaging song which never relinquishes its hold right through to the end, and though the track does not ignite great fires in the passions mainly due to its familiarity to many others, there is an open accomplished style to the songwriting and presentation which coaxes out only satisfaction and impressed reactions. Keen and infectious the track makes a powerful and appealing start to the EP.

The following Contender takes the evocative breath of its predecessor into a ballad bred emotive croon, vocals impressive over equally an intriguing and thickly hued melodic narrative. As the guitars shaped the design of the heart spawned sounds around the similarly bred lyrical reflection, the song reaches into greater depths and textures with excellent string arrangements and portrayal to coax even stronger passion from the vocals and listener. It is a tremendous song, the best track on the release showing the wider adventure and skill of the band.

Both Burning Out and Let It Go step back into a more bouncy gait, the first with a swing to its offering which tempts feet to match its tempo whilst bass and drums cage it all in their own rhythmic persuasion. As with the previous tracks nothing is overdone, all aspects showing clarity yet restraint with subtle persuasions as effective as the more forceful elements of songs. Its finale is maybe a little predictable with the group harmonies/chants but it works well and makes for a fiery conclusion to another very decent song. The closing track is the most poppy of the four but no less dramatic with strong sinews to its riffs and emotional intensity. Thoroughly engaging and contagiously anthemic to thoughts, body, and emotions, it is another compelling track which emphasises why Lacey is gaging strong acclaim and enthusiastic support.

Outlaws may not shine on distinction compared to other bands, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, and New Found Glory often making their comparisons known, but it certainly glows in all other aspects showing that Lacey looks like a proposition which will just get stronger and more inventive, as well as popular ahead.

https://www.facebook.com/Laceyofficialuk

8/10

RingMaster 12/09/2013

 

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For The Life Of Me: Closure EP

    ForTheLifeOfMepromo1

    It is impossible not to be strongly impressed by the debut EP from US rock band For The Life Of Me. Consisting of four striking and extremely well-crafted tracks, the Closure EP is an invigorating and vibrant confrontation of melodic punk and angst dripping rock brewed into an impacting and passion drenched fire of intent. From start to finish the release captivates and provokes for the strongest rewards and though For The Life Of Me feels like a band still discovering their distinct voice it is hard to remember many bands from their sphere of sound and style which has impressed as strongly with their introduction.

From Portland, Oregon, For The Life Of Me began with four friends, all from different musical backgrounds who came together when their previous projects and bands ended or disappeared into the horizon. Using their distinctly varied influences the band began writing and creating in the winter of 2009 through to the opening of the eyes of 2012. Choosing a quartet of songs the band finally got down to recording for an EP with Stephan Hawkes (Vanna, Closure In Moscow, Red Fang) at Interlace Audio in Portland. Soon after though, two members of the band Ray Canarios (vocals/ guitar) and Dan Hargadine on (drums) left leaving the other half of Austin Davis (guitar) and Jeff Galusha (bass)to resist the project being another failed venture and working on ideas as they looked for replacement blood. Finally with a line-up of vocalist/guitarist Lee Parks and drummer Chris Forrette alongside Davis and Galusha, the band is ready to unleash its pent up creativity and frustrations with the release of the Closure EP.

Eleven opens up the release and immediately earns strong attention with its fiery sonics and thumping rhythms soon joined by anforthelifeofmeep acidic groove which invites investigation. The vocals powerfully sculpt the narrative and its passion to enhance the already brewing drama of the sounds further. Strongly impressive the vocals ignite sparks within the compelling songwriting and imaginative melodic flames which flicker and burn with varying intensity and inventive breath. The lead track from the release, the song is a stirring and inflammatory trigger for the passions and emotive thought and almost alone ensures a determined interest in the future of the band.

The following TV In My Head, Part II like the first has no fear in gripping the listener with instantly powerful sounds and emotive energy. Less riotous and urgent than its predecessor the song raises the intensity with a thick passionate atmosphere and potent heart borne sonic aggression which in many ways reminds of Billy Talent. Moving into a melancholic aside with the bass resonating deeply and the guitar crafting little incendiary melodic flames, the song is an enthralling and intriguing piece of composing and imagination if over long in its second half instrumental journey towards the final anthemic finale.

Winter Sleep is a tempest of harshly squalling vocals and tight caustic yet dazzling guitar sonic craft within an abrasive but tempting invention and honed melodic breath, and though the track does not quite live up to those before it, there is still a persuasion which grips tightly and lingers from the song.

The closing and irresistible Sung Out of the Blue brings Closure to an impacting and thrilling end, its towering vocal and melodic ferocity of passion and personal incitement a deliciously seductive and stimulating meeting between song and feelings. The track alone sums up the whole EP, a precisely but instinctively carved intoxication of melodic enterprise and passionate invention. Recommended for fans of the likes of Brand New, Make Do and Mend, and Balance & Composure by their bio it is hard to disagree but add as mentioned Billy Talent as well if not exactly for the sound but the passion. For The Life Of Me is still a work in progress but from the excellent Closure alone have set themselves up as a very exciting and promising prospect.

http://forthelifeofme.net

https://www.facebook.com/forthelifeofmepdx

8/10

RingMaster 25/03/2013

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Late Night Fiction: Polar

Polar the new EP from UK melodic post hardcore band Late Night Fiction is one of those slow burners which needs a little extra time to unveil and expose its excellence. From receiving an initial appreciative nod without truly understanding its intent the release evolves into a stirring and perpetually intriguing gem. To be honest it never quite manages to ignite any ferocious or lingering fires within but is without doubt one of the more interesting and appetising releases of the genre and UK rock in general this year.

Late Night Fiction formed in 2007 as an acoustic duo of vocalist guitarist Phill Morris and guitarist James Thompson. Their need and desire for a heavier sound led to the addition in 2009 of bassist Reece Britton and ex-Alison Angus drummer Josh Meredith. Drawing on influences like Biffy Clyro, Yourcodenameis:milo, Hell is for Heroes and Brand New, the Hull based quartet released their debut EP Hands & Numbers the same year to strong responses. Shows with the likes of Grammatics and the Xcerts followed as well as sessions for BBC Introducing and their first single Horsefight. Since then the band has gone from strength to strength with this year alone already seeing the band playing alongside Twin Atlantic, , Dinosaur Pile Up, Flood of Red, run, WALK!, and Sucioperro. It has also seen Nat Lawson taking over with the sticks though Meredith is the man building the impressive song frameworks on the EP.

Released on their own Grey Man Records, Polar does not take too long into first song Black Watch to show that beneath the aggressive and high charged melodic scorching the band is not interested in merely making tidy, unassuming, and predictable music. This ensures songs which are at times volatile and insistently dynamic but also adventurous and continually surprising. The opener alone marks the songwriting as thoughtful yet unafraid to venture beyond its expected borders, something refreshing certainly in a genre which seemingly is veering towards wearing predictability as a uniform. The song ruptures the air with its first notes through striking and hungry guitars alongside openly earnest clean and shouting vocals. As the track surges with twisting switches from thrashing almost venomous intent to restrained melodic elegance which has its seeds in the acoustic intricacies from the roots of the band, it is a refreshing journey which leaps and gently strolls alternatively and persistently across the senses. It does not  get the blood surging through veins and the heart running fast but it certainly has one engrossed and grinning with delight.

The outstanding Exits, Pursued By A Bear steps into view next upon delicious atmospheric guitar weaves, their gait warming the air even with the exposure of coarse vocal grimaces within the otherwise smooth emotive delivery. As the song spreads its arms the bass of Britton virtually swaggers within the brewing ambience generated whilst Meredith leaves one on the verge of punch drunk with his powerful jabbing beats. Another exercise in musical adventure punctuated with explosions of incendiary energy and burning melodic intrusions, the song is a masterful piece leaving one deeply satisfied and with a desperate need to dive right back in to its heart to discover more of its textures and veiled invention.

The excellent and expressive instrumental Smashy “Smashy Beast” Beast is just the band laying out their musical ability and vision to wonderful effect, the dramatic and highly tensioned heart of the song much more than a mere interlude between the other tracks.

     Dialetics and Relax Please complete the line-up of songs to equal and impressive success. The first is more restrained than the other tracks but has a rawness to rile up emotions just as effectively adding further variation and imagination to the songwriting whilst the latter is a seven minute encapsulation of what the band is about, its presence an inciteful and compulsive exploration of their limits. Though arguably the least accessible song it has the most depth and imaginative canvas for thoughts and emotions to play with on the EP. It also has a melodic hook at times which shouts out Altered Images, but  do not let that put you off.

Polar is an exceptional release which just requires some fuller attention before it truly shows its qualities. The rewards though are very satisfying and with the album Ethics scheduled for late 2012, Late Night Fiction is a band to watch very carefully.

https://www.facebook.com/latenightfiction

RingMaster 11/07/2012

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We Were Lions: Rebirth EP

Sometimes a  debut comes along which not only fires up the passions right there and then but sows a seed within that this is just a prelude to something very special and important ahead. Always whether that realisation will come to pass only time will tell but certainly with UK band We Were Lions the feeling that their Rebirth EP marks the beginning of a vital addition to rock music within these shores is openly strong. The four track release bristles with a formidable energy forged alongside an expressive heart and a melodic engagement to wither the hardest stares. It also shows a band still in evolution which only goes to reinforce the sense this is the beginning of something important. It can be easy to be impressed by an introduction but it is rarer to be left with a lingering and assured feeling that one could be witnessing the beginning of something special; We Were Lions with their EP are one of those rarities.

The Essex quintet emerged from previous incarnation Faint Young Sun and one can only assume the EP title Rebirth is a reflection in some part to this as well as the emotive theme pervading their songs. Consisting of vocalist Lloyd Coombes, guitarists Dean “Machine” Claydon and Marc Bartholomew, bassist Phil Lamont, and drummer Dan Vinnicombe, the band finds fuel for their creativity in the likes of A Day To Remember, 36 Crazyfists and Brand New, merging it with their own emotional high octane melodic imagination. The result is a release and music which demands attention with an intimidating air before welcoming one into their warm and passionate melodic heart. The blend is irresistible and shows a creativity and touch many new bands do not have at their disposal at first.

The band courts hardcore and post hardcore genres whilst setting up their own territory with their sound. Part anthemic, part senses flattening, and wholly emotively powerful their first release leaves one breathless in the face of impressive invention and superb craft. The fact that as the songs play to the deepest satisfaction you still feel there is so much more to come is almost scary and very exciting.

Rebirth opens up with the immediately infectious Silver Medal, its initial dusty rock riffs a hungry tease not to be denied. The song soon expands with thumping beats and a prowling bass to cower from driving the fine surges of guitar. The excellent vocals of Coombes light up the song and unveil his impressive controlled ability and near mesmeric charm. The song departs with a lingering bruising of the senses to mark how adept the band is at merging the aggressive side of their sound to their technical and melodic ingenuity.

Backseat saunters in next with an impression it has something from the heart to say. Of course it does but not before brewing up a storm of barging riffs and taunting rhythms to achieve control. It then relaxes as the vocals once more captivate the ear but there is no holding back the intensity and consuming raging of the song. The band from then on skilfully switches and twists both aspects into a fluid and outstanding piece of songwriting and realisation. Best song on the EP it alone shows the immense potential still in the band.

The remaining songs End Of The Night and Even Heroes Need Saving continue the impressive creativity with equal eagerness and effect. The first is an evocative rock song which at times has whispers of Thin Lizzy to its expansive riffs whilst igniting thoughts with its strong lyrics and their even better delivery. The closer is a harmonic delight with less aggression than elsewhere but a mutual power thanks to the striking heart borne atmosphere and passion which wraps every note and word. The song shows another side to the band and though not quite as contagious as previous songs on Rebirth it is the most inventive and provocative.

We Were Lions have announced their arrival with not only an EP which triggers only pleasure and enthusiasm but one which sets them up as possibly a band to have a big say on the destiny of UK rock music.  The Rebirth EP can be downloaded for free from the official band website our suggestion is go there right now and hear why we are so enamoured with We Were Lions.
www.wewerelions.com

RingMaster 04/07/2012

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Forever In Promise: Into The Storm

Impressive is the first word that came to mind as the debut EP from US metalcore band Forever In Promise infiltrates the ear. There has been a formidable collection of debuts in the genre and metal in general from new young and excellent bands so far this year to which the trio and their Into The Storm EP can be firmly added. Made up of five powerful slabs of metal the EP is a remarkable blend of vibrant and inventive sounds with direct and thunderous intensity. It is not the most brutal release you will come across but it is easily one of the most pleasing.

    Forever In Promise is a trio coming from Texas and New York who came together in 2011. Consisting of vocalists Jordan Cordova and Matt Barlett who provide the clean and growls respectively and multi- instrumentalist Zach Norman who provides guitars, bass, drums & synth, the band has produced a release that as well as ticking all the boxes for the genre brings its own diverse and imaginative extras. The result is an EP that pulls one eagerly in for a very fulfilling experience and a compulsive towering ride. The post production on Into The Storm was handled by John Naclerio from Nada Recording Studio (Senses Fail, My Chemical Romance, The Ataris, Brand New) earlier this year and there is no doubt there is an understanding between him and the band that has added something extra to the songs they recorded. There is a clarity and depth that allows each component to breathe and flourish even when the intensity thickens.

The release opens with the brief piano led instrumental Drifting. The track brings an atmospheric calm and ambient elegance to envelope the ear before the following explosive tracks led by Communications Are Down take hold. With a flavour of As I Lay Dying the track roughs up the ear with probing riffs and barracking rhythms whilst the coarse growls of Barlett are as uncompromising as the sounds. Once the clean vocals of Cordova join the forage within the senses the song takes on another dimension, his tones the perfect mediator between senses and the blistered intrusive sounds. The rhythms offer a djent inspired attack whilst bass and guitars plunder the ear with an aggressive but distinct design. The song also has the added delight of vocalist Evelynn from polish post hardcore band Nurth bringing further variation to the vocals.

The title track and the remaining songs The Deepest Part Is You and Message From Home all offer equal quality sounds and imagination. The first of the three with a more defined electronic flow behind the tumultuous sounds lights up the ear with a surety and craft to keep things persistently engaging and unpredictable. The combination of clean and caustic vocals is impressive, with the band finding the perfect blend between them. The Deepest Part Is You reminds a little of I Am Abomination, the melodic craft of the track veining the slightly oppressive intensity in a song that is thoroughly compulsive and further proof that  Norman is a skilled musician with an apparent flare on all instruments he brings to the project. The track demands like all the other songs full attention but needs not resort to battering the listener to do it. It may attack with a deliberate strength and feistiness but the influences from other genres and the vibrant nature of the sound sets the release and band apart from similar flavoured bands.

Closing on the brief and again atmospheric Message From Home which with the opener brings a book end like completion to the EP, Into The Storm is an excellent release and the cause of great anticipation and belief of even greater things ahead from Forever In Promise cons. The EP is available as a free download from the official band website @ http://www.foreverinpromise.com/ so there really is no reason not to discover the fresh breath in metalcore that is Forever in Promise.

RingMaster 03/04/2012

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The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past

As much as the likes of Bad Religion and Brand New continue to create essential punk sounds and offer insightful thoughts and incisive with their releases there seems to be a reached pinnacle. Their new material always engages and pleases but the element of surprise or boundary stretching has diminished, they are not predictable but you know pretty much what you are going to get. With Philadelphia-based punk rock band The Menzingers, though they bring a blend and attitude that incorporates elements of both bands they infuse it into their own heart spawn sensibility and fresh energy to give a variable and distinct engagement to light up the senses, something their influences used to do but now seem less able to.

The Philadelphia based quartet of Tom May, Joe Godino, Eric Keen, and Greg Barnett release their third album and their debut on Epitaph Records, in the expressive shape of On The Impossible Past on February 20th. Their previous two albums, released via small indie labels, gathered strong acclaim as did their dynamic lives shows and supports for the likes of Anti Flag and Against Me! All this led them to the attention of Epitaph founder and President Brett Gurewitz who has commented about The Menzingers that “These guys play the kind of pure punk rock that I grew up with. They are seriously talented songwriters and I’m happy to welcome them to the Epitaph family. “He is not far wrong about the band being talented songwriters as the songs that bristle and grab attention within On The Impossible Past are insightful, emotive and easily register on a formidable personal level.

The album does not attach itself with easy to digest hooks and obvious simple melodies but eases its way deeper through personal, reflective and emotive understanding that one can relate to instantly. The album saunters in on the opening subdued mix of guitar and voice at the beginning of  ‘Good Things’ before bursting into a strident clash of guitar and raised emotive vocal delivery from May. As the whole album proves to be, the song hits home without thrills and spills, a direct and compact piece of good punk rock that lets its energy and attitude give all the impressive enjoyment. It carries a combined Bad Religion and Stiff Little Fingers mix that is far more satisfying than the pop influenced flavours that come as part and parcel of most contemporary punk sounds.

This is not to say The Menzingers neglect or ignore melodies and pop accessibility as tracks like the inspiring ‘Burn After Writing’ and the brilliant ‘Gates ‘show. These songs swing upon the ear with ease and instantaneous appeal but are well crafted with defined skill and creativity a strong feature of the band’s music. The latter of the two is a wonderfully written and crafted song, a track that relates on many layers and lingers emotionally and aurally after its departure, helped not only by the emotive melodies and lyrical intent but also the vocals from Barnett. It is a song that epitomizes the bands passion and ability to touch the listener far deeper than the ear.

It is impossible to point out a weak song upon the album, and whether their music or release works for you or not there is no denying the skilful and cultured song writing on show. The album is also one of those rarities that is not only has an immediate attraction and lure but evolves into a stronger and more inspired release the more one shares  time with it. For all its high consistency though some tracks really stand out. ‘The Obituaries’ is a raucous anthemic track with scorched melodies, driven riffs, and an emotion that all can relate to. It is one of those tracks that you cannot resist joining in with no matter how much you try but the difference here it is not just a chant song, its passion to the fore throughout making it a special treat.

Songs like the stunning ‘Sun Hotel’ that carries a Midnight Oil feel at their bitter best and the irresistible ‘I Can’t Seem To Tell’ are of equal quality and take the album into essential listening territory all on their own. The second of these two is an amazing concoction of discordant acidic riffs and melodies, eager rhythms, and a moody bassline to drool over, a classic.

On The Impossible Past is one of the best punk albums heard in a long time and a refreshing and satisfying alternative to the easy and at times heartless pop punk that fills the genre currently. That is what The Menzingers have to their music, heart and that makes for a release that should have your attention.

Ringmaster 03/02/2012

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