HOSTAGE CALM: Self-titled: CD

Jan 11, 2011

Melodic hardcore heroes Hostage Calm return with an album which fuses the band’s early sound, calling to mind Kid Dynamite or mid-late ‘80s era Dischord bands like Embrace and Dag Nasty, with some of their indie rock influences, namely The Smiths. The fusion of indie rock with hardcore roots on this record creates a sound that is simultaneously melodic and catchy while remaining as in your face and intense as previous efforts. Chris Martin transitions from the Kevin Seconds-sounding shouts of the previous Lens LP (2008), to a clean singing style that suits his voice well. The vocal harmonies present in several songs further enhance the overall vocal quality, and Martin’s intelligent lyrics make for songs worthy of epic sing-alongs at shows, in the car, or in your living room. The album opener “A Mistrust Earned,” immediately demonstrates Hostage Calm’s new sound. “Rebel Fatigues,” follows with prominent use of piano, and driving chorus parts that get the head bobbing. “Affidavit,” is a popular track the band play live frequently, and “Where the Waters Call Home,” a poetic argument towards ignoring the differences between people regardless of race, geographic location, or other difference, follows it. A few tracks later is “Young Professionals,” one of my favorite tracks on this album. It is a bit of an introspective song, as one of the title’s young professionals confronts and questions the values of the life he is living, at least for a brief moment. The rest of the album is as good, if not better, with live favorites “Jerry Rumspringer,” and “War on a Feeling,” closing out the album. These songs rank right up with “Young Professionals,” among my favorite tracks on the album, and best represent the new sound of Hostage Calm. While all fans of the band’s previous efforts might not appreciate this new direction, I’d encourage them to give this album a chance. Those new to the band should grab this album and not look back. They will not be disappointed. –Paul J. Comeau

 –guest (Run For Cover)

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