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Super Black Market
Pray For War
(self-released)


Punk Rock and the Midwest aren't normally two entities that mesh well. The lifestyle of those states is generally a bit more laid back and sometimes not becoming to the quick tempos and blatantly honest lyrics. Thus most likely the reason behind the exodus that Sonny Remlinger, Joseph Remlinger and Benn Bluml took from our wheat fields to the sparkly lands of California. Their band Super Black Market was definitely in need of a few things: a new bassist and a new avenue with which to introduce their new EP.

It seems that the rest of the equation for the SBM sound was hiding on the West Coast. Their new album Pray For War is not only expertly produced, catchy as all, but it's also just friggin' sweet. "Jamie" starts off in fury; your ears don't know what to do with all that drumming insanity. When things mellow out a bit, you hear a little story about a "girl named Jamie," told by Sonny's almost delicate vocals. This whole softness sentiment lasts a mere moment and once the song really busts out, it's pure madness. The only reaction that's appropriate is uncontrollable thrashing, maybe a fist pump or two as well. With "Dancing Drunk" you're shown how to properly get tipsy, Cali style. There's a solid beat that keeps the entire song constantly grooving, and when mixed with the guitar dance melody the fun really gets going. Plus when you have a chorus full of lyrics including a mention of "pirate on the bed," you love to have any reason to sing along. Moving to another entertaining song "I Won't Forget You," this one starts with, "You are blood and I'm a vampire, we sit and smoke, while the room is on fire." But it's not just the lyrics, it's the method in which they are delivered. Imagine Tom DeLonge getting a hold of a punk rock song and that's the kind of sound you'll hear. Light synthetic notes, with pretty little guitar strums and vocals that belong in a love ballad. The song is a defining number on the album and oddly one of my favorites, as it's a completely different direction for the guys, not to mention the mass appeal it could easily bring in.

I have to jump down to the last song on the album "Right Now." The song begins with similarities from "Dancing Drunk" and "I Won't Forget You" with a very simple guitar presence and a set of story-like lyrics. After a bit of jamming, the song drops off to a simple bass strum and a hint of a guitar ween. Then out of nowhere a violin steps in and another guitar takes lead with an almost acoustic feel. The whole song gradually builds in emotion and excitement. It's really incredible. After another couple minutes, everyone on stage [is] back in play and giving it their all. The listener is eventually pushed to the point of restlessness, you just can't wait for it all to break loose! Before the explosion everything actually quiets back down to that first guitar heard (not the bass) but the ween of just a few notes. Finally it's all out there, vocals with a choir backing, violin, all guitars, the crazy drums and bass. It all eventually ends with a lullaby feeling which works perfectly, because the entire number clocks in at just over 7 min and one will need a way to mellow out the now pumped up blood pressure.

Having known of Sonny and the guys' music for at least 4 years, if not longer, I would have never expected such a masterpiece. An unexpected surprise for sure. So much potential lies ahead for these 6 songs!

-Rachel Fredrickson

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