Honorable Mention – ‘Coalescence’

By Chris Marshman

Since 2003, many bands have tried to encapsulate, channel or recreate the spirit left behind by the ill-fated yet ultimately seminal Long Island pop-punk outfit The Movielife. Few, if any, have managed, something which could conclusively be attributed to the zeitgeist of their particular scene having passed in a blur of bleeding hearts and contrived clichés from those who just missed the bandwagon. That is, until now. Following on from their 2012 acoustic EP, Washington-based Honourable Mention have successfully seized upon the gaping gap left by Vinnie Caruana et al and filled it with their own blend of aggressive angst and self-deprecation in the form of their most recent EP ‘Coalescence’.

Over the course of four tracks ‘Coalescence’ takes one on a cathartic journey through the trials and tribulations of those who have suddenly found themselves, all of a sudden, on the wrong side of 21 yet still harbouring the sentiments of adolescence. Indeed, the band themselves proclaim that these are “Sad tunes for sad dudes” – and that might well be the case – but rather than the maudlin musings of your typical contemporary ’emo’ bands, Honourable Mention are taking a step back and harnessing the energy and aggression of acts such as Jawbreaker (and indeed the aforementioned Movielife) whilst still managing to keep things fresh.

First track ‘Attitudes and Opinions’ is a brilliant way to kick off the proceedings, and is a far cry from its acoustic counterpart. Singer Sven Shibahara has guttural abrasion down to a tee, a staple that continues throughout the proceeding tracks and one that is indicative of Castavet’s Nick Wakim. The lyricism present across ‘Coalescence’ is a further welcome change from your usual pop-punk or emo fare. There are no trite or simplistic rhyme schemes at play here; instead one finds a plethora of deprecating self-examinations that will resonate with even the most stringent of pop-punk purists, made all the more impactive by the obligatory gang-chants such as those featured in the closing moments of ‘Flood’.

Punk is a genre that has many guises but rarely is it exhibited with as much aggression or candour as that on ‘Coalescence’. Relentless percussion and caustic guitars populate each of the four tracks, consistently back-boned by eviscerating vocal parts coming courtesy of Shibahara. The whole record is underpinned by that distinct feeling of solace only found in shared experiences – however negative they may be – and such is the feeling of solace that the EP really couldn’t have been called anything other than it is. And while “it’s just as mother said so/no use crying over spilt milk”, there is use in writing a record about it = especially if it comes across as the blistering tour de force that ‘Coalescence’ does. A 2013 must hear.

DAVE BEECH

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