ARMS ALOFT: Comfort at Any Cost: CD

I can say with confidence that this six-song EP will make my Top 10 list for this year. The CD combines their self-titled 7” and their recent Kiss Of Death split 7” with Fake Boys, and it just so happens that this is some of the most assured, muscular, hook-filled, and smart music I’ve heard in a long time. Combine the fattened-guitar steamrolling that Rivethead dished out with that weird juxtaposition that the Lawrence Arms frequently manage, how they make solemnity and damage sound somehow redemptive. That’s pretty close to Comfort at Any Cost. Arms Aloft have crafted a handful of songs here that are wicked smart, ridiculously catchy, and wrenched from one of the most basic tenets of punk and, yeah, folk music: the idea of protest, of flying in the face of. And they do it beautifully and with just the right amount of swagger. I particularly love this type of stuff but, like sugary pop punk in the ‘90s, we’ve become inundated with bands like this. There’s a glut of groups doing this type of stuff. And yet I can think of less than half a dozen bands who are doing it as well—with the same amount of obvious passion and jagged-edge songwriting—as these guys are. I’m moving to their home state in about a month and plan on making it a mission to catch ‘em live as often as possible. Grab this one up.

 –keith (Gilead Media)