Review Summary: The Effort are on the road to perfection.
It’s heard in the cadence spread drum intro of “Price of Man(ipulation)”, and lead singer Tony strains his voice to cry lines of deceit and, you guessed it, manipulation. It’s propelled further by their image. Banners plastered across their myspace and website urging the next generation to “celebrate independence and patriotism”! And it’s solidified by the band growing into a straight edge hardcore ensemble. But haven’t we seen this progression and heard this story/album before? Yeah. Not to disappoint anyone looking forward to Wartime Citizens
it’s everything one would expect with such growth; but there’s a hint of disappointment arising understanding this derivative of hardcore is becoming a clichéd niche where everyone reflects everyone. That is, if you’re a political motivated band with straight edge ethics you’re probably trying to reiterate the emotion and bravado that was/is Witness
. In fact, it’s made ever more present with every review of a politically charged hardcore album referencing Witness
, but this is only applied because said release in question forces the issue with such blatant imitations. However, understand this, The Effort have released their most focused, invigorated and polished product to date – in a time where they recognize modern life has become war. From this release on there may be no more comparisons to make.
More than any other major (indie) label hardcore release this year The Effort expounds upon one factor making them vital to the market – conviction. With not only emotion exasperated through a sole voice, like the sporadic heavy breathing that produces a raw effect, or the thriving need for expiation, it’s the harmonizing of all members on one agenda; the sentiment that what one member feels directly mirrors another, thus lifting the execution of each song to higher levels. Each strummed note feels like the last time their fingers may move, each tom hit iterates a failing heart for a crucial purpose, and to complete this cliché phrasing, each vocal note feels exasperated to lose voice with an intention. And it's a groovy death. From bouncy bass riffs to soaring guitar melodies The Effort have crafted a release the walks a razor thin line of punk/rock. They take it steps further with dynamic changes in rhythm and varied instrumental incorporations, for instance the steel string acoustic ballad which battles its own identity. However often Wartime Citizens
reminds you of an album you’ve heard before condemn the thought. The Effort are doing enough to stay afloat the waters of trepidation. There’s a distilled feeling that what they’re creating has already been achieved but they’re modernizing it. For every typical guitar slide there’s a rampant riff bubbling beneath it inflecting their aggressive appeal. Each standard drum loop is treading ground before satiating the yesteryears of punk/pop coasting through their wide array of inspiration. And no one can forget the standout performance of vocalist Tony who, while joining together several instances of brodowns, offers up vast amounts of moments deviating from the hardcore norm.
The greatest fault from Wartime Citizens
may be its limited appeal of discussion. While there are numerous laudable moments the stretches in between keep the record from breaking into a wind of revolutions. Still struggling to use the deliverances of hardcore albums past perfections The Effort have only broken onto the scene, and not beyond it where they could perhaps shape it like their motivation suggests. The benefactor here is the potential elevated by confidence; each song displays a sense of understanding the evolution of hardcore needs. More emphasis on cohesiveness within an offering of dynamism however broad enough it’s branched. Yet it’s when these practices are put forth through more than a voice one succeeds; it has to be felt even when there are no words to guide the ears, that’s when clear unison is met. They have half this formula down, the passion is there; they just need to craft the originality, they already believe they can, behind it.