For Fans Of
State Lines are a pretty catchy, melodic band from Long Island, New York. With ‘For the Boats‘, the band blend sincere lyricism with anthemic, hooky punk rock dynamics to create one of the more heartfelt and plainly engaging punk albums of the year thus far.
From the first crushing notes on ‘For the Boats‘ opening title track there’s a distinct impression there’s something pretty special lurking beneath the surface of loud, angry power chords and gruff vocals. The album develops from mid-tempo numbers that see frontman Jonathon Dimitri articulate his melancholic, disillusioned frustration against a strong, marching drum beat, to lively melodic punk rock reminiscent of Daytrader or Iron Chic.
There’s a definite shift between the first half of the album and the second. Where ‘The Same Mistake’ and ‘Linger’ bob along slow and forceful in a way that captures the emotional gravity of the record, sixth track ‘Shit for Brains’ sticks out like a sore thumb on what has been a relatively smooth ride up to that point. The track is powerful, immediate but still catchy and accessible; one could make a comparison to the likes of Saves the Day or Bayside. From there, the pace picks up a little more and everything just feels a little more active, such as the one-two punch of ‘Kids’ and ‘Garages’, which doubtless feature the album’s most memorable hooks.
Lyrically, the writing on ‘For the Boats‘ largely moves back and forth while carrying the same general overtones, with personal accounts intertwined masterfully with proud rallying cries. “It’s me telling some kid through a microphone / he might be fucked in the head, but he’s not alone” declares Dimitri on ‘Shady Existence’, and that youthful defiance and mutual feeling of struggling against the current underpins a lot of the themes on ‘For the Boats‘.
What’s a shame about ‘For the Boats‘ is that given the short nature of the album – most tracks clock in at under three minutes – sometimes songs feel like they haven’t been given space to fully breathe and develop. In saying that, it doesn’t detract too heavily from the record – simply demonstrating a tendency towards punchier, more energetic songwriting – but there’s definite moments where you begin to really start to connect with the flow of a track only to find it abruptly end.
‘For the Boats’ is a band finding its feet. State Lines have created an album of hearty indie/punk gems that secure them a place as one of the more interesting bands in a sea of punk bands that trade on sounding derivative.
1. For the Boats
2. The Same Mistake
3. Water Song
4. Shady Existence
6. Shit for Brains
7. For the Ears
10. Indian Burn
11. Tuesday Morning
12. Where It’s Warm