Thursday, April 20, 2006

Record Review: Armalite - Armalite

Melodic post-punk. Sounds like an oxymoron. At least if you were reared on the current spate of no-wave, disco-punk bands whom the point rockets overhead, blowing their asymmetrical haircuts askew. Armalite play angular post-punk similar to Rites of Spring, yet retain the melody and eccentricity of singer and Guitarist Atom’s former band – Atom and His Package.

Armalite are hardly the train wreck you’re probably envisaging. On ‘Armalite,’ Atom shares vocal duties with Dan Yemin (formerly of Kid Dynamite and Lifetime and currently of Paint It Black). While Dan’s past and present bands have relied on crunchy riffage and energy, the appeal of Atom and His Package was surely Atom’s penchant for writing quirky, electronic-driven pop punk ditties. Armalite manage to reconcile the two, never descending into a circus of gimmickry.

Structurally, ‘Unfinished Business’, ‘Husker Dave’ and ‘Other Entertainers’ are angular post-punk songs, and strong ones at that, yet Atom’s vocals instil all the melody and wit he is revered for. Conversely, ‘No Wave’, ‘Entitled’ and ‘Grace (Or The Importance of Being Impermanent)’ are ball-tearing, angular post-hardcore and hardcore punk.

Armalite strike a happy medium between the two genres without sacrificing melody or energy. The guitar tones are thick and discordant and don’t sound flaccid. A problem that has plagued bands like the Explosion, the Bronx and other bands that have taken East Coast hardcore and tried to take it in a more accessible direction.

Four Thumbs Up

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