Album Review: Hostage Calm/Anti-Flag - 'Split 7"'

4 March 2013 | 12:13 am | Staff Writer

A split between two bands that are strengthening punk as it has been and as it is now.

Run For Cover Records are currently occupied with a project that endeavors to unite the bands on their roster through the funding of seven 7” splits to be released consecutively this year. The first of these is a surprising match-up, that of no nonsense punk fanatics Anti-Flag and Hostage Calm. One that effectively spotlights the burgeoning talent of the freshly successful and juxtaposes it against the comfortable punk aptitude of a band long settled into ebb and flow of the industry.

Hostage Calm are a band whose innovative catchy punk sound, almost reminiscent of lovable punk boys, The Get Up Kids, ultimately highlights the disposition between how punk sounds today and how it sounded one or two decades ago. Their side of the split contains ‘Olly Olly Oxen Free,’ an impossibly bouncy, melodic punk anthem that any listener will undoubtedly get a kick out of. Its sing-along aptitude works to the band’s advantage, as they seamlessly mesh an energetic punk ferocity with a more youthful and slightly cheerier vibe.

All expectations are met, and nothing surprises in Anti-Flag’s gritty punk contribution – 'Branded Rebellion,' which nevertheless nicely balances out Hostage Calm’s offering with Anti-flag’s usual routine – a gritty explosion of aggression, vigor and speed. So Anti-Flag are playing it safe, but in this case, leaving all the forward thinking up to Hostage Calm works in favour for both bands. Reflective of a raw 80’s punk simplicity, Branded Rebellion proves that Anti-Flag have not, and surely never will, lose their spark.

The sounds of Anti-Flag and Hostage Calm approach punk rock from very different angles, but this doesn’t prevent them from working in perfect unison in the first installment of Run For Cover’s seven 7” splits. The result delivers to its listeners a smorgasbord of infectious punk rock, coming from two bands whose unique interpretation of many decades punk offers up a ferocious enthusiasm and pride that exemplifies and strengthens the genre. If it’s anything to go by, both bands will continue to be heard loud and clear in the future.

Hostage Calm:

1. Olly Oxen Free

Anti-Flag:

2. Branded Rebellion

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