Nightmarathons – ‘Missing Parts’

By Tom Walsh

The great state of Pennsylvania has a knack of producing stellar punk bands. From the evocative poetry of The Menzingers, the raging political voice of Anti-Flag to the feminist anthems of Cayetana, there is something in the water in the Keystone State that makes the music here strike such a resonant chord.

In the east, Philadelphia is widely regarded as being home to the nation’s most vibrant punk scene but across in the west, Pittsburgh is beginning to rival its more renowned neighbour. It is on the frozen streets of Steel City where Nightmarathons honed their love of bands such as Hot Water Music and Piebald to create celebratory melodic punk rock.

Their debut album ‘Missing Parts’ has all the hallmarks you could come to expect from a band hailing from Pennsylvania. It has the nostalgia-laden lyrics of lost loves, vivid imagery of urban metropolis and driving on Route 376, the gruff vocals synonymous with that early-2000s post-hardcore genre and the sing-a-long moments reserved to be screamed back in a cramped club by patrons dripping with sweat.

In an era where we, as a society, are becoming more introspective, ‘Missing Parts’ reflects the current zeitgeist while also providing that reminder of what we used to listen to before everything got so complicated. The gentle hi-hat opening of ‘Waiting Room’ develops into beautifully contrasting guitar riffs that are so reminiscent of the sounds that punctuated the turn of the millennium punk.

The clean staccato notes backed with the delightfully delivered gang vocals of ‘Reset’, instantly transform you into that Pittsburgh bar where this song is instantly the most important thing to everyone in attendance. There are moments of joyous happiness coursing through the album such as the immediate ‘Cull Your Heart’, which feels as an almost “brothers-in-arms” sing-a-long.

There are chaotic elements like the thrashing ‘Watered Down’ which dips into the proud hardcore history of this famous state, while the closer ‘Cemetery Road’ bookends a highly impressive debut album from just the latest punk band off the Pennsylvania production line that will soon be adding to its proud tradition.

Nightmarathon’s decision to enlist the help of Anti-Flag’s Chris No.2 as producer has ensured that there has been a close eye kept on the authenticity of the sound; people will know where this record has come from. This is a hugely ‘Pennsylvania’ album, one that can stand alongside the numerous records that have left this fair state and one that has the potential to be defined as a classic of its genre in the years to come.

The Keystone State just keeps on delivering.


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