For your viewing pleasure Deal’s poppunk superstars present their music documentary.
What do they put in the water in Deal? The sheer amount of quality bands that have emerged from the tight-knit scene is phenomenal. Last year saw the release of a number of quality EPs and albums from bands around the area, and this year has started in fantastic form with the release of ‘Posture, Volume, Script’ , the new EP from alternative rock band Save Target As. Ever the prospect in a live setting, as well as being a band that’s sound is extremely hard to pigeonhole, it’s not hard to see why this EP has been so eagerly anticipated in some circles.
It’s fitting that ‘Posture, Volume, Script’ should not only open with long time live favourite ‘Romeo, Romeo’, but also with frontman Loz Regan screaming the EP’s title; it is, after all, the juxtaposition of Regan’s aggressive vocals against the melody of the band’s music and the clean vocals of guitarist Chris Horne, that makes Save Target As such a great live band, and credit should be given to Oz Craggs at Hidden Track Studios for capturing that ‘live’ energy so well on record.
‘Romeo, Romeo’ is an absolute anthem, and though its lyrics may sound like some nightmarish drama lesson, the intensity of Regan’s vocal delivery hints at a hidden depth. The abrasive screams duel with Horne’s more forgiving vocals from the off, and the dancey rhythm that bubbles below the surface clarifies why this song always induces movement from a crowd. There is a dance-inducing rhythm to all five tracks on this EP that is largely fuelled by the bass work of Alan Warboys. In fact, it’s not too dissimilar to the role the bass plays in Hot Water Music’s work, though that is as far as that comparison will stretch.
A combination of a delicate guitar line and ruthless screamed vocals kick dazzling second track ‘Tombstone Cocktails’ off in style. There is also an element of Coheed & Cambria singer Claudio Sanchez, to Chris Horne’s vocals in places on this track. There is also a distinct and catchy chorus, that will instantly take root in your head. ‘Diamond Chances’ is the EP’s weakest track, but such is the quality of the others this does not mean that the track is anyway bad. In fact, there are some bands that would probably wish that their best tracks were half as good as this. It is full of driving rhythms and hooks that carry the song.
The last couple of tracks are belters. ‘Dagenham Docks’ seems to build slowly, but then storms out of the blocks in a flurry of guitars. The verses are built around an addictive bass line, while the drums provide the main funnel for the energy. ‘Magpies & Shiny Things’ is of a similar standard, full of swirling guitars, and the vocal sparring between Horne and Regan is once again top notch. The final build to the outro of the song is of epic proportions, and features a victorious guitar solo, that serves as the perfect ending to this EP.
‘Posture, Volume, Script’ is a triumph of a debut EP, and should herald the band as ones to watch. It has all the elements of a great rock release; plenty of energy, abrasiveness and just enough melody. If you’ve ever enjoyed this band live, you are guaranteed to get a kick out of ‘Posture, Volume, Script’, and if you haven’t… well you need to get on it.
‘Posture, Volume, Script’ by Save Target As is out now on i-tunes, amazon and through the band.
One day, I will post things when I say I’m going to… anyways here it is.
1. Polar Bear Club – Clash Battle Guilt Pride
There’s been a little bit of disgruntled feedback from “fans” of this band, that this album is a pale comparison to the back catalogue. I completely disagree with that sentiment. ‘Clash Battle Guilt Pride’ was in my opinion the best album of last year and represents this Rochester, NY band at it’s best. From the brilliantly atmospheric opener ‘Pawner’ to the equally epic closer ’3-4 Tango’ this album is just pure brilliance. You can read me waxing lyrical about it at greater length here -> http://www.alterthepress.com/2011/09/album-review-polar-bear-club-clash.html
2. The Story So Far – Under Soil And Dirt
‘Under Soil And Dirt’ was the pop punk album of last year, and arrived with little to no fanfare, and then preceed to get a buzz unrivalled by any of their contemporaries (with the exception of The Wonder Years perhaps!). Featuring some songs that have made an appearance elsewhere like the awesome ‘Mt. Diablo’ as well as some new songs like the ridiculously catchy ‘Quicksand’, the album is brilliant and really rubs salt in the wound that is New Found Glory’s latest. ‘Daughters’ is the best song if you are looking to download a taster, but the best advice would be to just get the whole thing. Not convinced? Read this -> http://www.alterthepress.com/2011/07/album-revew-story-so-far-under-soil-and.html
3. The Wonder Years – Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing
For the second year on the trot this band have managed to infiltrate the top five of the year (http://danissitt.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/top-20-records-of-2010-part-four-no-1-5/). ‘Suburbia’ is better than ‘The Upsides’. There I said it. Both records are great, but ‘Suburbia‘ is the superior of the two. Whether it’s the explosive opener ‘Came Out Swinging’ or the interesting little interludes, everything is a little more classy. The lyrics are still personable and appealing and tracks like ‘Coffee Eyes’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Cave In’ really demonstrate just how good this band are.
4. The Horrible Crowes – Elsie
Brian Fallon can do no wrong in my eyes. I love the Gaslight Anthem and was eagerly anticipating the release of his side project of ‘night time music’. It took a little time to fully settle with me, but after a few listens I was hooked. There’s a real old time feel to a lot of these tracks, but they don’t feel even remotely dated. Musically more subtle than his day job, and resting a little more on the influence of acts like Tom Waits, ‘Elsie‘ is a brilliantly broody album, littered with a fair amount of stomp. Single ‘Behold The Hurricane‘ isn’t a fair reflection of the album as whole, and it’s gems like ‘Crush‘ and ‘Black Betty & The Moon‘ which really make this album worth owning. If you can get it on vinyl, it’s worth it. Want to know more? – >http://www.alterthepress.com/2011/09/album-review-horrible-crowes-elsie.html
5. Austin Lucas – An Old Home In The New World
Austin Lucas is amazing. The man has a set of pipes on him unlike any other, and he makes beautiful slow and sad songs. I could (and have) listen to him all day. His latest album sees the most stark evolution in his sound yet, as he introduces electric guitar to a handful of tracks on the album, as well as a trumpet on the last track. These are brilliant additions and work really well. There are too many great tracks to single out on this album, but the last track ‘Somewhere A Light Shines‘ is a brilliant closing track. Read this -> http://www.alterthepress.com/2011/05/album-review-austin-lucas-new-home-in.html
Probably the last part for today. To see who made the Top Five, check back on Saturday morning!
6. Dave Hause – Resolutions
I have a confession to make. I only bought this because I had tickets to the Revival Tour. I missed the boat on the Loved Ones, and for some reason ignored all the great press this was getting. Never the less I am so pleased I stumbled across it. There’s more energy to ‘Resolutions’ than most singer-songwriter fare, and the music that Dave Hause makes to accompany his soulful voice is quite unique. There’s a fifties vibe to his voice, without him sounded dated, and it’s refreshing to know that he can pull it off live too. This is a real hidden gem of an album.
7. I Am The Avalanche – Avalanche United
I was beginning to wonder if this album would ever see the light of day. I was a big fan of their first album, and the legal wranglings that kept them locked up were very frustrating. Now they are over, the band is free to tour and this album has been made and has hit the streets. It has a similar vibe to the first album, with the exception of Vinnie’s vocals which have had a serious injection of gravel. ‘Brooklyn Dodgers’ made it on to here, which is a great song, but others worthy of a mention are ‘You’ve Got Spiders’ and ‘Casey’s Song’.Released on the same label as Dave Hause’s album in the UK , it’s so worth getting a hold of.
8. Deaf Havana – Fools And Worthless Liars
I thought I knew Norfolk; picturesque and ideallic, and very un-rock and roll. Time to re-think. Deaf Havana laid out their plan for domination a few months before this album dropped with the release of the amazing single ‘I’m A Bore,Mostly’. It was clear from this single that the album was going to be good and it was. It’s not anything particularly ground-breaking, but it is a brilliant slab of radio friendly rock that has top quality songs on it. ‘Little White Lies’ featuring Portia Conn is a hit single in the making, and the “hometown” lyricism of ‘Hunstanton Pier‘ is also worth a nod.
9.LifeStory:Monologue -Drag Your White Fur, Make It Grey
Never heard of this Canadian six-piece? I’m not surprised, but it’s definitely worth taking some time out of your day to check them out. This album is a flawless piece of post-hardcore. The musicians in the band spend the 44 minutes of the album creating soaring soundscapes that provide the perfect backdrop to the emotive vocals of the singer. All 10 of these tracks are brilliant, as is everything they have put out previously. Their two prior EP’s are available for free (or they were), and are a great place to start with them. On this album the stand out tracks are ‘Candles’ and ‘Teratoma’.
10. Spraynard – Funtitled
This is a great little record, in fact it’s so great, I’m just going to encourage you to listen to it.
11. Thrice – Major/Minor
Thrice are born musicians and although their “hiatus” brings a sorrowful feeling, it’s accompanied by one of anticipation at the thought of what these guys might produce on their own. ‘Major/Minor’ picks up where ‘Beggars‘ left off and is it’s equal in every area. It’s typical latter-day Thrice, expansive musicianship, poetic lyricism and plenty of guitar. It’s really too hard to pick an individual track, because ‘Major/Minor‘ was clearly crafted as an album and that’s the way it should be listened to.
12. Defeater – Empty Days And Sleepless Nights
Erm, ok so maybe strictly speaking another “wave” band did have an impact on me. That said, I don’t classify Defeater in the same group as La Dispute et al. Defeater are a hardcore band writing concept albums, which in itself is quite something, but more than that there is a clear and distinctive underlying narrative to this album. Taking characters from previous album ‘Travels‘ and the EP ‘Lost Ground’ a new part of the story is unravelled in impressive musical fashion. The ‘acoustic’ part of the album is something a little different, but it’s in tracks like ‘Empty Glass‘ where the band sound their best. Get on this album as soon as you can, cause Defeater are in a league of their own at the moment.
13. Chuck Ragan – Covering Ground
Chuck Ragan is a musical machine. He’s always putting some form of music out, whilst endlessly touring and putting together the awesome Revival Tour (which was AMAZING in London). Album number three proper, this release is about life on the road and it’s typical Chuck, gravelly vocals, folky rhythms and above all honest. This kind of music is popular music in it’s truest form, music that can be passed from generation to generation around a campfire or in a hall. ‘Wish On The Moon’ with it’s little nod to Elvis, and ‘Meet You In The Middle’ featuring Brian Fallon are my favourite tracks, but see here for my more in-depth analysis -> http://www.alterthepress.com/2011/09/album-review-chuck-ragan-covering.html
14. Small Brown Bike – Fell & Found
In a year where a few of my favourite bands split up, it was good to see an old favourite return. Small Brown Bike are cult heroes of their genre and though ‘Fell & Found‘ doesn’t match up to the cream of their back catalogue, it is a darn site better than some of the tripe put out by others. ‘Onward & Overboard‘ is brilliant as is ‘Sleep River Sleep‘. It’s also worth noting that this is by far the most aestheticly pleasing piece of vinyl available in 2011.
15. Fireworks – Gospel
This definitely took longer to hit me than their début album, but once it settled in it, it was obvious that it was a great progression. The band have taken a slightly more mature approach to ‘Gospel’ and the songs sound better for it. There’s more of a musical palette on offer here, and there are a handful of astounding songs. ‘Arrows‘ is brilliant as is ‘Teeth’ and there’s even a song for those yearning for the older, simpler sound in ‘The Wild Bunch‘. If it didn’t hit you instantly, don’t write it off, this is worth investing in.
Life gets in the way…
16. Thursday – No Devolucion
This could be the last ever album by Thursday, which is a pity really, because it signals the start of a new interesting sound. Though it was a considerable step away from last album ‘Common Existence’ (which was ace), the new atmospheric sound being peddled by this New Jersey group, really was grand. ‘Magnets Caught In A Metal Heart‘ and ‘No Answers‘ are the big standout tracks, but the album as a whole is a swansong to be proud of, if that’s what it becomes.
17. The Color Morale – My Devil In Your Eyes
Ferocious screams and pitch-perfect vocals are the main reason this stunner of a metalcore album makes the list. Frontman Garrett Rapp deserves a lot of credit for seemless switching between screams and singing, but it’s the overall quality of every track that makes this a winner. ‘Demon Teeth’ and ‘Nerve Endings’ are the trump cards, but read here to see how great the overall album is -> http://www.alterthepress.com/2011/03/album-review-color-morale-my-devil-in.html
18. Pianos Become The Teeth – The Lack Long After
The only “wave” band that really had an impact on me this year. You know the deal by now, gut-wretching vocals, atmospheric music, and angst ridden lyrics. The reason this made the list and ‘Wildlife‘ by La dispute didn’t, is because in my opinion ‘The Lack Long After’ works better as a complete album. Stand out track is the emotionally charged closing track ‘I’ll Get By’. There’s tonnes more I could say about this disc, but I already said it better here -> http://danissitt.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/pianos-become-the-teeth-the-lack-long-after-topshelf-records/
19. Still Rings True – Tear Down The Walls
There was a lot of emotionally charged pop punk doing the rounds in 2011, but very few that channelled the emotion outside of the tried and tested girl-meets-boy/everyday life schtick. Like contemporaries Latin For Truth, Still Rings True take the Lifetime formula of poppunk and add a bunch of politically leaning lyrics and anger. This album is just downright rad, and I’m surprised that there isn’t more of a buzz around them. My favourite track is ‘What We Carry Inside’, but this isn’t a best songs article it’s about the best albums, and all ten tracks are worth a listen. Have a read of this if you still aren’t sold -> http://www.alterthepress.com/2011/07/album-review-still-rings-true-tear-down.html
20. Of Mice & Men – The Flood
Of Mice & Men know how to pen a catchy metalcore track. ‘The Flood‘ is absolutely jam-packed with them, as their début album was,with the difference being that ‘The Flood’ is the sound of a band more assured of their identity and their place in the scheme of things. ‘Still YDG’n‘ and ‘Purified’ are my tips for the best tracks, but if you are a metalcore fan check out the whole album, you won’t be disappointed.