Efforts & Means

Written by: PP on 01/03/2013 17:57:27

If you're into edgy, melodic punk with scratchy, smoked vocals that are nonetheless capable of delivering anthemic choruses, look no further than Astpai. These Austrians impress thoroughly on their new album "Efforts & Means", which encapsulates the classic Fat Wreck Chords sound in a nutshell. Think bands like None More Black, The Flatliners, Morning Glory, The Lawrence Arms and stuff like that. Scratchy, yet melodic, but with polish left off the books to make room for a rough-around-the-edges type of guitar sound and vocal performance.

It creates a nice balance between the slick melodies and the halfway shouted vocals, where the sound never becomes too poppy nor too heavy, rather than staying perfectly in the middle. This results into some anthemic sing alongs like those found on "Biting Dogs Don't Chew" and on "Give Us Today Our Daily Bread, Cars, And Flatscreens". That's also where the None More Black references are at their most apparent, thanks to their singer whose vocals sound almost unmistakably like Jason Shevchuk. There's also some extra ambition apparent compared your conventional punk band in that the songs are unusually long, with many clocking in well past the four-minute mark. Some of these are slower tracks, and the tempo variation does wonders to the versatility of the record. It's also a sign of multifaceted songwriting talent, which is probably what has attracted The Flatliners vocalist to guest on the album. In fact, the album highlight is probably the six-minute track "Honest Or Sentimental", which has an accurate title as it reflects both adjectives sound wise rather well. And if song length scares you off as a punk fan, then don't worry, because Astpai offsets it towards the end with a couple of 1-2 minute tracks of fast paced, raw melodies.

That being said, "Efforts & Means" isn't by any means an ambitious album in the same way as Morning Glory's "Poets Were My Heroes", which was released around the same time. It trusts in simple melodies delivered through an honest, passionate vocal performance, and subtle chorus melodies that are best described as growers. They aren't obviously catchy, but have hidden depth underneath the surface (especially lyrically) that elevates the album above many similar releases by much more renowned international bands. Don't miss this one.


Download: Biting Dogs Don't Chew, Heart To Grow, Honest Or Sentimental
For the fans of: The Flatliners, None More Black, Morning Glory, The Lawrence Arms
Listen: Facebook

Release date 18.09.2012
Jump Start Records

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