Friday, April 8, 2011

Rational Anthem - Bread Line

Rational Anthem are a Sarasota, FL pop punk band in the vein of The Dopamines, Dear Landlord, Dillinger Four, Delay, and everything else wonderful. Their leads are beautiful, their vocals are on the whinier/snottier side, and they have an ample amount of woah-ohs in the background. This Bread Line album is a really solid effort from this ragtag group of hoodlums, and it's definitely every bit of amazing that I'll probably tell you it is throughout this review.

The first song starts off with a definite sort of Midwestern pop punk feel, and sounds like something straight out of Minneapolis, which is just about as gangster it would be sounding straight out of Compton. The vocals come in and sounds closer to stuff you'd here from contemporary bro-core bands like Handguns and With the Punches. They sound honest and they sound like they're conveying every hit ever taken. The instrumentals do sound a shit load like The Dopamines and Dear Landlord though, and it stays that way throughout the record. It's definitely a positive thing, because it's not like these are song ripoffs, or style ripoffs, it's just more good music from unexpected places. The album opens up with what may be the best song on it, or in the world. I keep going back to it before I even get to listen to the second song. Also, with a title like "(The Weight of the World Is) Shitting On My Shoulders", what else would you expect?

The second song "Blackout Magic" just makes me feel rotten for not getting my pop punk album recorded yet, because it's clearly the kind of shit I wish I wrote. It's excellent, really. I wasn't expecting this when I found the band online and decided to review it. I love it. There's a sloppy sounding guitar solo towards the end that sounds amazing, they really got the right tones down for their guitar and bass with this recording.

Then this heavier song kicks in, and it has my name as a verb in the title, "Idling". The vocals don't sound mixed in very well on this one, and they kind of sound like they're laying on top of the track or something. The backups are awesome though, and the guitar is heavier than normal for this one. The only part of the vocals that make them worth it for this song is when the backups come in for the higher octave behind the leads. There's an excellent pop-punk guitar solo too. It's not difficult or anything, it's just fitting.

"Customer Complaints" makes me wonder if the drums are fake...They sound really not real around the beginning, but I'm not always savvy enough to notice these things. I think the first two tracks were the real killers on this release, but the last two aren't bad at all. They sound good, but don't hold up quite as much. I'm much more likely to through the first two songs on various mixtapes in the future, because they're honestly excellent. I just went back to make sure I was right about it, but yeah...the vocals sound better mixed in for the first two songs than they do for the latter two, and that might be the only issue with them.

Overall, amazing effort from these Floridans, and you can grab their album from Traffic Street Records. They're spreading the Midwest, and that's a great thing...eventually the whole world with be Ohio and such. Imagine it...freeways, farms, chili, skyscrapers, and assholes who can't drive for fuck.


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