Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution
A Call To Arms


4.5
superb

Review

by TheStefan USER (4 Reviews)
December 6th, 2010 | 12 replies | 982 views


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: To Life...

At first glance of our bickerings and worries about the day-to-day trivialities that plague our existence in today’s world, one may not be aware that inherently within all humans, (all organisms actually) is a psychology that places the importance of one’s life above all else. Though preservation of one’s life is ultimately the psychological goal of all humans, the inevitability of death leads us to live our lives as strongly as one chooses to within their time on earth. However, the belligerent nature of humans (again, actually all organisms) to protect and serve their territory naturally breeds war. Leaders of the world will often instill fear and a sense of nationalism into their country’s youth to call them to arms in battle.

Here is where the album comes in. Though the world has change drastically since 2001, a theme recurring from The Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution’s Call to Arms will always strike a chord with the listener. Whether it be 10 years, 20 years, or even 100 years the appreciation of one’s life will always be of the utmost importance, and the depravation of life’s opportunity through war will always be viewed as barbaric from World War I forward. A Call to Arms delineates the appreciation of life, and the injustices that plague the average soldier on a day-to-day basis that are corroding and plaguing his precious life.

A Call to Arms could not be a more fitting title for such a work that destroys one’s notions of a “glorious war.” With tracks such as “Here’s to Life” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” it is no secret that this album deals with the value and prosperity everyone deserves within their lifetime. However, as Tomas Kalnoky shrieks “Don’t die for anything less than the best of, everyone settles for the rest not the best of, I will die for no less than the best of life” it is clear that he is pressing a deep fear of an untimely death by the hands of war, and instilling his value of the great experiences that one can have through their life, given the opportunity to live it. The very (albeit ironic) title implies that Kalnoky views this deprivation of life through war as barbaric, unnatural and unfair.

As I mentioned, the title that the band chose is a tad ironic. Clearly their view on war as a juggernaut depriving young men and women at a chance to fulfill their lives' full potential is not aptly expressed in the title A Call to Arms. However, I also feel as though the music is a tad ironic. Since this album centers around the themes of life, and tends to deal with grim topics, it is somewhat unexpected to hear the upbeat horns over a mellow acoustic guitar backing these shockingly grim lyrics. Needless to say, the musical expression of these themes is truly the album's forte. Even without all of the psychological speculation of this piece of art, at its core it is an album that is simply fun to listen to.

Since Tomas Kalnoky (the mastermind behind these 5 songs) was later to move onto his work with Streetlight Manifesto, and had just disbanded from Catch 22, the songs are either heavily similar to the two bands, or are different takes of classics we all know and love. The album opens with the familiar melody from “Here’s to Life” from Everything Goes Numb, but rather than the version we are all accustomed to, the horns are overpowering, with an acoustic guitar in the background, which transitions nicely into “Dear Sergio,” the classic opener from Catch 22’s Keaseby Nights. These then lead into the final two songs. Although “It’s a Wonderful Life” was never a favorite of mine, it is still a wonderful track, and the final track is probably the strongest on the album.

Musically, the album does not disappoint. The horns are a tad overpowering, but as a listener, it sounds very natural. The horns are supposed to be the lead, and should blare a bit. The acoustic guitar ranges from very peaceful and appropriately background, to haunting. In “They Provide the Paint…” the opening guitar line is nothing short of chilling, and in “Intro: A Call to Arms,” the guitar appropriately opens the album with the classic Streetlight melody that we all know. Occasionally, a piano works its way into the mix, providing a frightening aura over an otherwise peaceful scene, and with macabre lyrics such as “Hemingway never seemed to mind the banalities of a normal life, and I find, it gets harder every time, So he aimed the shotgun into the blue, Placed his face in between the two, and sighed, ‘Here's To Life!’ the album does not fall short on a chill of the subject of life. Blend all of this under Kalnoky’s signature raspy vocals, and it is a recipe for a chilling, yet fulfilling album.

With Kalnoky’s carpe diem attitude toward life, it is no surprise to discover that he is not an advocate of war. Even so, A Call to Arms instills Kalnoky's values lyrically, over a fitting horn section and peaceful acoustic guitar. If you are a fan of Streetlight Manifesto, Catch 22, mellow ska-punk, and enjoy their sound with Kalnoky’s vocals, you will be pleased with A Call to Arms. A wonderful ska album if there ever was one, and one of the strongest I have ever heard to date.


user ratings (301)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
Steerpike (5)
...

J_McMeaty (5)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheStefan
December 6th 2010



1003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This review was not really necessary, but i have been falling in love with this album over the past week. So... yeah

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
December 6th 2010



3766 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yay this album. Gotta admit though, opening a review with pseduo philosophical musing on life is a really, really bad way of doing things.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

Blackbelt54
December 6th 2010



4269 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good review, but at first i didn't think the opening paragraph had to do with the album at all. and i would hesitate on calling this ep "mellow ska-punk"

TheStefan
December 6th 2010



1003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

why? by opening the review with a philosophical idea connected to the album illuminates the work's greater meaning as a whole, which should be a welcome interpretation of the music. Even if most people don't agree with me, reading 3 reviews of the same album that all talk about the same thing could get tedious after awhile. By offering a different type of lens to view the work as rather than the simple "describe the music" formula, it makes it stand out from the crowd. I don't understand where you are coming from

Blackbelt54
December 6th 2010



4269 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

not saying it was bad, just saying in the first few sentences i didnt know what to expect. then it made sense later in the first paragraph

pmmets07
December 6th 2010



5862 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

kalnoky is a god

TheStefan
December 6th 2010



1003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

well i appreciate you clearing it up, i was a little hesitant that i was going to have the entire community of Sputnik crack down on me and taking a giant shit on my review just because it opened up a little "off the beaten trail"

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
December 6th 2010



3766 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That's well and good, but it's a matter of style. That opening paragraph is boring and tedious. If you want to be truly creative, convey that "greater meaning" in a way that is not overdone and overwrought. It's possible to convey depth in a way that is fun and engaging. That opening paragraph is not.

For example, why not combine the two? Why not use the music to illuminate the points you want to make throughout the review? The first half of the review is far too detached from the music, the second half is far too specific and uninteresting. If you can find a way to write both in tandem - and I suspect you can - your writing will be far better. There's nothing wrong with what you've written, only how you've written it.

vanderb0b
December 6th 2010



3473 Comments


I need this album so much. Pretty cool review.

TheStefan
December 6th 2010



1003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

well i appreciate the criticism, and you aren't sounding harsh. i would rather have someone help me out constructively than simply be a dick. All i can do is take it in stride, develop as a writer and try better next time. I'm gonna put this review to rest for now though

climactic
December 6th 2010



18667 Comments


love this

thebhoy
Emeritus
December 6th 2010



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think I echo Alex's thoughts. But, yes the album is awesomesauce



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