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Chorus of One
Every year there's at least one punk album that turns my head, that I can't stop listening to, that makes me think that the genre isn't dead or doesn't need to die. This is it for 2001. Strike Anywhere have managed to harness the chaos of hardcore and fuse it seamlessly with the right amount of rock sensibility to create the perfect noise of joyous dissent. By the time the epic proportions of "The Cassandratic Equation," with its shout chorus -- "Underground / America / 1999 / But it could be any year / Anywhere" -- you'll be ready to take up arms with the rest of them.
They're bound to be compared to bands like Avail, Boy Sets Fire, and a handful of hardcore acts, but surpass those poseurs because they understand that without that hint of melody, their hyper-backbeat percussive violence would just become boring, and the message would be lost.
I suppose like other hardcore acts the message comes first, and there's nothing new from that standpoint -- the repressed, the robotic workers, the victims of corporate and government lies (that would be you) against a system always evil and in control. The title track opens with this solvo: "To live in discontent / Anti-establishment / Since the day we were born / If we just look inside / Each of us / A thousand rebellions sleep." From there, the song centers around Thomas Barnett's promise "I will try everything / To kill the sleeping cop in me" as if he recognizes that he, too, could go awash in the system. It works because you believe these guys mean it. An amazing debut that keeps hope alive for punk's always tentative future.
back to Posted May 22, 2001. Copyright © 2001 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.