H2O: Nothing to Prove: CD

Back in my XL Strife hoodie and winter-camo pants days, I admittedly took issue with H2O’s accessibility and the resulting gateway to my beloved New York hardcore for Warped Tour kids. These were dudes who actually grew up in New York City alongside the classic NYHC bands that I worshipped and emulated to no end and—quite typically, I should add—I was sitting in my hick-town basement bedroom criticizing H2O’s “real”ness. Kids are stupid. Toby and co’s first record in seven years really sounds no different than their (undeniably killer) debut, still conjuring the spirits of Warzone and Token Entry while just radiating sincerity, walking that fine line between “hard” and sensitive. Tear-jerking-yet-fist-pumping lyrics, insanely catchy choruses, and the requisite guest vocalists all over the record still get me going like nobody’s beeswax. Teenage me would’ve loved this shit and pretended not to. Luckily, current me has been finished pretending for quite a while and can unabashedly run around my apartment singing along, all smiles with a finger in the air. This is just like, the best.

 –Dave William (Bridge Nine)