In the early 2000’s before bands like My Chemical Romance and The Used turned emo culture into some kind of teenage romanticism there were The Ataris, Saves the Day, Piebald, Alkaline Trio and legions of others screaming on about abandoning hope and wishing you’d call them back after the party was over. Plenty of these bands came across my desk as I worked in the Music Department at my campus radio station and I grew a soft spot for many of them over time. Then Dashboard Confessionals ruined it for the rest of us. A few weeks ago I was asked to give this particular group a try, and within a few tracks I was brought back to a crowded office covered in posters and stacked with CD’s to listen to while trying to write papers.
The piece that caught me before any of the listening started was to find out this band featured Mike Davenport of The Ataris; then as the tracks played out it all made sense. The songs were dripping with that angst I hadn’t heard in almost a decade. The punk edge, soaring vocals, frantic guitar solos and emotions. I am often surprised to hear bands that still carry on this tradition and I’m also glad to hear that no one has spoiled the formula for creating this type of music. The latest album by Versus the World, Drink. Sing. Live. Love., is a perfect example.
Of course there were plenty of people opposed to this kind of punk rock, and the idea of injecting more feelings into punk started back in the mid 80’s with plenty of other hardcore bands, but that is a discussion for another day. If you are looking for something new to spin, I would suggest: “A Fond Farewell”, “These Bones”, “She Sang the Blues” and “We Were Alive”.
I should warn you that listening to this type of music in excess could lead to combing your hair into a faux hawk, getting a bunch of strange tattoos, piercing parts of your face, wearing black t-shirts and Chucks. Or you can try to check out Versus the World on tour this fall with MXPX and Unwritten Law.
(Note: The reviewer was given a complimentary copy of this album; however, his review reflects his unbiased opinion.)