Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Album Review: Hostage Calm - Please Remain Calm

Hostage Calm is one of those bands that I never got around to checking out simply because I had never heard their name until recently. Looking back on their discography, particularly their self-titled album from 2010, it's weird that I overlooked them. But I digress, better late than never, right?

I first heard of Hostage Calm while doing a shift for DyingScene. They had just premiered a then-new song "Don't Die on Me Now" and it was said to show up on their then-upcoming (now newest) studio album Please Remain Calm. I listened to it, thought it sounded okay for a live video, and then promptly forgot about it. And now I've been listening to Please Remain Calm almost non-stop for about three weeks.

In spite of the almost Black Flag homage and street punk font style on the front cover, Hostage Calm plays a much more (dare I say it?) calm approach to punk rock. Anyone who heard their self titled album would know that, but alas I am not one of those people. The songs are composed to incorporate various stringed instruments in addition to the standard rock set up, the the harmonies that are used are seldom used by punk bands that aren't the Smoking Popes. The lyrical themes reflect the unease and concerns of growing up in these tough economical times to which any jaded youth can relate, punk rocker or not.

Due to its use of some very non-punk elements, Please Remain Calm was kind of off-putting at first. The layered vocals on Patriot sound like one of the forgotten b-sides to Weezer's Songs from the Black Hole, and The "M" Word utilizes a full 60's pop orchestral backing track to the point that you might question if Phil Spector secretly produced it. Don't get me wrong, this album is damn good- just know that if you're expecting working class punk rock (or even gruff, jaded PBR-soaked punk rock), you'll be in for a disappointment. Much like how Streetlight Manifesto has taken influences from outside of ska and turned their music into a sound that is wholly them, Hostage Calm has done for the same for punk.

Definitely worth checking out.

RIYL: Smoking Popes, Cheap Girls, Pinkerton-era Weezer

Oh yeah, the whole thing is available to stream or purchase on Bandcamp right here.

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