Review Summary: A no-holds-barred yet at times melodic punk album with a moderate-to-fast tempo, catchy melodies, and appealing vocal harmonies.
Crossfire Collision is a relatively new Punk-rock band consisting of Matthew James [vocals, guitar], Devon Martindale [guitar] and Jimmy McGregor [drums]. Emerging only two years ago, they’ve managed to release their debut full-length album called Panic Face
, an incendiary, no-holds barred punk rock album. Surprisingly, they recorded it at a random studio in South Africa (where they reside) and eventually went on to master it at in full detail in Fort Collins, Colorado, where bands such as NOFX and even Anti-Flag have managed to shed their light on the floor. The band has a lot of unavoidable gems within their music, but the most prominent rests on their gripping melodies and tight instrumentation; this is represented well within Panic Face
. While the album’s mood and tone can seemingly change at the drop of a hat, you can find the album to be quite warm and settling.
Lyrically, the band primarily supports ideas from treasurable memories (aka nostalgia), optimism and basically anything positive or uplifting; in other words, the album is ultimately gifted with an encouraging attitude that could act like an automatic turn-on for some listeners—including me. Their lyrical prowess shines throughout most of the album, and is simply a blast to hear. Frighteningly, though, the vocalist strangely sounds a bit like early Billie Joe Armstrong (predominantly in the Dookie era), giving this a slight nostalgic feel for some who grew up during the age. Pointing fingers, ‘Horizons’, and ‘Heyo’ are the album’s biggest highlights that reflect Armstrong heavily; it’s striking how closely similar they sound at times. The vocal teamwork is a great addition as well, making this a great sing-along album for the entire family.
Although not every ounce of the album is necessarily perfect, there are certainly more positives to make up for what are the negatives. The album is littered with hooks, blistering riffs (yet at the same time great melodies), and powerful songwriting. Album opener ‘Inebrianthem’ is proudly supported by the slick juxtaposition between shouted and clean vocals, added onto a face-thawing guitar riff which are both executed near perfectly; all clocking in around three minutes. Almost every track on Panic Face
is somewhere between two minutes to around four (just subtract an absolutely insane thirty second track called ‘Gridding from Ear to Ear’), gathering the record very digestible and sustainable.
While briefly explained earlier, the guitars on this album are phenomenally written and executed. For example, the sweeping melody in ‘In The Days’ markedly supports the song almost entirely, with a great chord progression near (and even on) the chorus along with captivating vocal harmonies from James. McGregor complements the song well with his flamboyant drum section; the cymbals are and snares are both boisterous enough to make them ring in your ears for days (in a good day way, too). ‘In The Days’ scripts a very good melodic tune, basically, and a great element to be found from Crossfire Collision.
‘Fighting a Shadow’, though, remains my favorite off the album, for many reasons. Particularly, the vocal setup is unforgettable; the vocalist confidently yells at the top of his longs and the energetic four-chord progression swishes along the table to release an upbeat sensation of joy. The guitars are diverse and full of energy, yielding this an essential of “first listening” for the album. ‘Caught in the Crossfire’ is a more aggressive track, but still retains that catchy chorus and well-executed harmony, and anthem-drenched ‘Heyo’ has the addicting trait to it (along most of the album) that’ll keep you hooked for days.
While Crossfire Collision has practically confirmed their sound with Panic Face
, I’m almost certain they will release albums in the future that sound totally different, or perhaps stick with their original sound and build up from there. Every musician on here does an outstanding job with their instrument, and James’s vocal performance is consistently captivating. But although the album merits a few flaws, such as it being a relatively short listen (which could be great or bad for whoever), alongside a few incompressible-at-first guitar riffs, but these characteristics don’t conclude that the album stinks, because it’s far from it actually. The band is insanely-energetic when it comes to their music, and the album here establishes that more than well. So head down to the beach, or even grill out some burgers with this in your ears (or stereo is fine too), and make it a memorable day.
In the Days
Fighting a Shadow