HI HO SILVER, AWAY!: Chore: LP

I’ll say it: Chore surpasses everything this band has done previously, absolutely demolishes it, and that’s coming from a guy who likes them. Lyrically, they’re tilling some rough-shod ground regarding the daily, hands-on struggles around poverty, busted relationships, abuse, fear, and forgiveness. Each song is its own little short story, but done in such a way that it all seems concurrent, one song threaded to the next. (I’d kick around the idea of calling it a concept album, but that leaves the idea leaves a bad taste in my mouth.) Musically, it’s pushing the boundaries of pop punk in a way that’s confident and measured while still being catchy and muscular; each of the three instruments bend and flex in a way that deftly avoids the pitfalls of the genre and yet each song sounds anthemic as hell. It’s a smart, compassionate punk record, and songs like “LeSabre” and “Power Dynamics” still give me the chills months after I first heard them. It’s so easy, after hearing thousands of records and writing hundreds of reviews, to feel burnt out on this stuff, on music,so when a record comes along that’s just this wonderful blend of empathy and frustration and catchiness, I take notice and grab on. Chore’s definitely that record. They’ll be hard-pressed to top this one, and I’m betting it’ll wind up being my favorite album of the year.

 –keith (It’s Alive)