Stream City

Hello Gravity EP

Written by: PP on 30/03/2010 00:20:40

Two down, two to go. Next up is my favorite release of the four Danish punk rock records released in the last month or so, Stream City's demo/EP "Hello Gravity", which has taken this scribe like a storm with its violin driven folk-punk, that's not really folk punk because it's ska-punk, except without the ska, so it's just (very good) punk. Weird huh? That's because it's one of the most original and intelligent punk releases I've heard since the masterpieces by RX Bandits ("...And The Battle Begun") and Catch 22 ("Permanent Revolution"), two bands that Stream City share more than a good deal in common with (more on that soon), so can you blame me for not coming up with a better description? The band itself likes to refer to themselves as progressive punk, which isn't too far off the bullseye either, so just take my definition, put it in a blender with theirs, and there you go.

So what do you get when you shove (subtly) socio-politically charged lyrics, chaotic instrumentation, ska, folk, a violin, and punk into a box and shake it a few times before opening? Some of the most catchy, yet at the same time manic instrumentation dressed up as punk rock, but at the same time with some elaborate intellectual themes and song structures that aren't for the faint hearted. Yes, the progressive third wave ska styles of RX Bandits and Catch 22 are certainly revisited here, but never directly copied, because Stream City have a violinist instead of a brass section, and a desire to challenge Usain Bolt in terms of speed, that is, if Bolt played a guitar for his day job. The guitar lines Stream City fire song after song are full of high pitch melody, giving a great platform for the charismatic vocals of Dion to shine during some great choruses and verse sections that won't necessarily stick to your mind the first time you hear them, but as a tradeoff, the longevity in the songs is out of this world. Unpredictability is the key theme explored in the instruments here, most clearly audible in the drum-work which is really out of this world, to put it bluntly. I've seldom heard so varied, so insane, so sublime drumming on an album that's punk rock; usually stuff as well constructed and played is heard on metal and/or progressive albums only....well I guess that's why they call this progressive punk, eh?

Since I should probably also mention a few songs here, you might as well jump straight to "Incompetent Doctor", which is hands down the best Danish punk song I've ever heard, and that includes masterpieces by bands like The 20 Belows, and even the now-defunct Heading South (who were really, REALLY good, check them out if you don't know them). Combining together breakneck speed and an insane amount of melody, the instrumentals alone make you want to thrash around your room to this song, or join the circle pit in a live environment, and then you have Dion's vocals completing the picture with infectiously catchy melodies - even some screaming towards the end. Otherwise, it really doesn't matter which song you check out from "Hello Gravity EP", it's all superb stuff. At just under 15 minutes, it's maybe a tad bit short, but by god is it a brilliant introduction to a new band, in fact I refuse to believe that this is their debut/demo or whatever, it's just too good for that. These guys must have been secretly practicing somewhere for the last 5 or 6 years, putting out a record per year but not releasing it for the public, because nothing else explains the professionalism in both songwriting and production that's present on this EP. I have no idea why I didn't like this stuff live the first time I heard, I must've had my ears blocked by something weird, because ladies and gentlemen, this is the most impressive punk rock I've heard out of Denmark since the days of Heading South (I heard they may be reforming by the way), and that was more than 6 years ago. Don't miss this one, they won't be unsigned for long, trust me on this one.


Download: Incompetent Doctor, My Only Friend
For the fans of: RX Bandits, Catch 22
Listen: Myspace

Release date 20.02.2010

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