Convalescents - Armageddon
It's been quite some time since I considered myself a fan of punk music. A transitional phase in my early teens had me actively seeking material from bands like Green Day, The Offspring and NOFX. I wouldn't say I've come a far way since; while I don't seek it out anymore, I'm certainly not opposed to the more upbeat, pop-centric blend of punk that was incredibly prevalant for a good part of the 1990's. Recently brought to my attention, in the way many bands are to assorted critics worldwide, are the CONVALESCENTS, a foursome hailing from Colorado whose aim is to preserve that vibrant and fundamentally entertaining sound from the past. Armageddon is representative of the best qualities of quality pop-punk; catchy, lyrically fulfilling, endlessly energenic. While some tracks take their time more than others, you won't find any breaks in the action ala some other bands of their ilk; Armageddon is a rollercoaster of an album.
From the first musical cartwheels of "Scratch Scratch" to the final breath of "Queen of Misfortune", Armageddon goes by so fast that it demands repeated listens. And you wouldn't want to listen again and again if it sucked, right? Right. Nothing on Armageddon sucks, everything stands out as warranted, well-written and welcoming. The entire 25 minutes, every last one of the 10 tracks, is totally memorable in pieces or as a whole. Frontman Dylan Busby has a name that I have a hard time not imagining being household at some point in his life; a voice that fits this style better than perhaps any other I've heard in the past and songwriting that stands comparison with any other band of their ilk that I've come across. And while the entire band meshes together beautifully, drummer Ben Duncan's stamina and enthusiasm behind the kit are, like most great punk music, both essential and very up-front in the sound picture. Ben has a certain creaitivty that allows for bigger, more diverse fills and grooves than you might expect.
It was immediate to me, in less than 30 seconds on my first listen, exactly what the CONVALESCENTS were all about. Close to a dozen listens later and I'm feeling like I never left my old, somewhat disguised love affair with pop-punk behind. Armageddon feels like both a blast from the past and a logical next-step for the genre; it doesn't exactly re-invent it, but it should serve to rejuvinate a criminally underappreciated genre. Fans of said genre, do not under any circumstances let Armageddon pass you by. Even if I don't review another punk album this year, I feel safe in saying this one is going to be amongst the very best you hear.
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