Friday, December 19, 2008

Front of Resistance - Reclaim Your Mind EP

What is punk rock? I've spent a lot of years listening to a lot of music and going to hundreds of shows in houses, halls, and holes in the wall and to be perfectly honest, I couldn't tell you. It's cliched to say, but punk is probably the only musical genre that is completely subjective. You can ask five different people to define it and you'd get five different definitions (and one of them would probably punch you in the face because that's a really stupid question). I can only tell you what it means to me personally and that is: complete and utter fearlessness combined with a willingness to play anywhere just for the fun of it and an unparalleled passion for lyricism and music. If you meet those criteria, then you're punk enough for me.
So what is a punk band to me? The Front of Resistance embody what I feel punk should be if not necessarily what it currently is. This band have more guts as artists and musicians than I've seen in almost anyone else. Their ability to write songs in whatever genre seems to strike their fancy with no regard for developing a uniform sound and conforming to one niche is refreshing and exciting to listen to. You literally have no idea what you're going to get from one song to the next and it makes listening to their music genuinely fun.
Their lo-fi recordings demonstrate a gritty, beautiful sound that you would associate with the early 7 inch records from the DC hardcore scene in the 80's. There's a little Minor Threat and Rites of Spring, a lot of Against Me! and Anti-Flag, and even a healthy spoonful of Dashboard and The Get up Kids in almost all of their songs off their first EP as a full band (Reclaim Your Mind).
On the disc's opener "Help Me Fly" you can hear a great dynamic in the vocals between singers Amirit and Ron. On this song you hear the guitar playing the rhythm and the keyboard taking the leads, and at first I thought that I was hearing them set up a trend for their sound but I was wrong. On the very next song "Maybe Someday", a track that sounds a lot like Rancid in their ska days with Justin Sane singing, the guitar takes over and you can hear Ron's surprising chops as a lead guitarist.
All of the songs on the EP lace their varying melodies and style with the one common denominator; passionate and often politically charged lyrics. "Don't Think to Much" sounds like an old Get Up Kids tune with heart wrenching and passionate lyrics that almost shock you to hear delivered so intensely. The dueling piano and guitar solo in this song is a perfect illustration of the band's sounds colliding. "Outside Point of View" and "The Felt Presence of Direct Experience" both have their trademark lyricism with very different approaches. "Outside Point of View" has a very melodic, old school punk sound with some screaming and gang vocals. "The Felt Presence..." is an all acoustic affair with really soft, sweet vocals from Ron that hearken the sound of Bright Eyes or Neil Young.

Keep your eyes on these guys.

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