Folk punk reminds me of dubstep in a way; every song works its way toward the same tired riff that everybody’s waiting for and then everybody freaks out. Take Blackbird Raum’s song. It starts out with a shitty bagpipe playing… building tension… and then those pipes fade into the background as a guy starts playing a banjo and shouting off-key… wait for it… THE BIG DROP… then all of the band starts shouting at once to that goddamn faux-Eastern-European, yee-di-i-yee-de-i folk loop, the standard of every goddamn folk punk song with that horrible yut-dut-dut-duh accordion and saw and washboard and… I dunno, who the fuck cares? My friend, who knows Blackbird Raum, claims they have an excuse because they are, in some way, originators of this horrid sound. Fair enough, but that makes them even more accountable for inspiring such a horseshit genre. I’ll give them credit for being more complicated and having more parts and changes than your average oogle, folk punk band, but it makes them no more bearable than the rest. So, anyway, after trashing the entire genre, I have to eat some crow and speak up for Hail Seizures. They’re the exception to the folk-punk-sucks rule. They fall into some of the same trappings, sure. For instance, the shouting gang vocals are a bit too much at times, but you’ll never hear that horrible loop. Basically, they’re just a fast-as-hell acoustic punk band with, at times, a metal complexity building and expanding on their sound with some crazy breakdowns here and there. They’re from Olympia, so I’ve always kind of considered them one of the Northwest’s biggest secrets. This isn’t some of their best work. I like their album For the Ruin far better because individual songwriters in the band had a chance to shine Wu Tang-style, rather than constant gang-shouting, but still, this is a good couple a tracks from them.
–Craven (Gox, [email protected])