Sonic Avenues - Television Youth
Over the past few years I've been lamenting the death of punk rock. Sure, there are still some great old war horses putting out new material (Bad Religion, Dropkick Murphys), but the young bands just aren't coming up behind them.
Enter Montreal's Sonic Avenues and their sophomore album Television Youth. Rather than follow the trend and make the commercialized mid-tempo bubblegum, or almost as bed- EMO, that passes itself off for punk nowadays, Sonic Avenues reach back to the spirit of '77 for inspiration.
From the opening chords of "Givin' Up On You", delivered with the Anglo swagger of The Buzzcocks, it's easy to tell where this band's heart lies. The attack is comprised of buzzsaw guitars, forceful backing vocals, and a rhythms section that never stops bouncing. The boundless energy and spacious production are also big nods to the past.
The themes that the band chooses to tackle in their songs are familiar to old punks as well. Teenage angst, and the boredom and idleness of youth play a prominent role on this record.
This isn't a retro record per sé though. Sonic Avenues definitely make an attempt to modernize the sound while retaining to punk aesthetic. They do this by layering in big, meaty Power Pop hooks. That combination takes the title track to near-anthemic proportions.
It's not all wine and roses (or spit and safety pins) for Sonic Avenues. By the end of the album their songs begin to blur into one another in the listeners head. They need to be very careful not to allow themselves to become predictable or formulaic.
With the musical vanguard for the city that has lead the indie music charge over the past half-decade or so, it seems only fitting that a band from Montreal seems destined to help punk rock get back on it's feet.
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