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Strike Anywhere
To Live In Discontent
Jade Tree Records

Veering towards the lighter side of hardcore, Strike Anywhere delivers pulse-pounding anthem laden rock that almost lives up to its fundamental roots. This band comes across as a how-to example of hardcore; brain-bashing drums, check; intense guitars with a hint of melodic lines, check; furtive popping bass, check; socially infused lyrics that are rhythmically yelled, double check. Slightly watered down for the masses a la Avail, this band is good, but they lack that spark that carries them further into that iconic category which lasts beyond disbanding.

Mainly I would attribute that minor fault to the songwriting, which has bite in the guitar and drum sections but doesn't get beyond a growl in the lyrics and singing. I don't know, maybe the anthems don't have the hooks that they need, and maybe the words speak to me but they don't grab me by the conscience like most of their great hardcore predecessors, but there is something missing. The closest they get to really getting it is the song "Question The Answer", where you can tell that there is a union of thought and feeling between the material and message.

Unfortunately, the point is further driven home with the last three cover songs on the album. The song choices offer a glimpse into the shaping of the band, but also show to what the band tries to aspire. While "Two Sides" and "Where Are They Now" pay good obeisance to Gorilla Biscuits and Cock Sparrer, respectively, it is the choice of "Values Here" - one of my favorite Dag Nasty songs - that seals my conviction that they can do better.

Don't get me wrong - this is a damn good album. There are a lot, a hell of a lot, of good, truly worth it guitar-drum combinations that will keep this album in my collection, but I am of the mind that there is no excuse for falling two inches from the finish. I have faith that they will be able to carry it further next time.


Track listing:

1) Asleep
2) Antidote
3) Chorus Of One
4) Question The Answer
5) Incendiary
6) Earthbound
7) Notes On Pulling The Sky Down
8) Cassandratic Equation
9) Two Fuses
10) Sunspotting
11) Two Sides (live)
12) Values Here
13) Where Are They Now?

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