Streetside Vinyl

If There's A Hope

Written by: TL on 10/06/2013 21:48:16

I've been having a fairly busy day, and I'd just sat down and downed a Monster when I got home, when that bit of news about The National dropped and now my pulse is probably pounding at some hazardous pace... But still, there was this review I had meant to do, so here's a lightning quick article about "If There's A Hope", the debut record from California quartet Streetside Vinyl.

In my experience, it's quite common for young bands to remain a bit undecided about their direction on their early records, and hence it's not the biggest surprise for me to get exactly that feeling from "If There's A Hope". On one hand, we get songs like "I Have My Reasons" and "Enough With The Tricks (Haha)", both of which are driven by ballsy, edgy garage/punk riffage and sharp, attitude-filled, the combination of which reminds me of Wales' Straight Lines. But then the latter also plays around with a horn towards the end, adding to a theatrical quality that runs throughout the tracks and reminds me of the experimental approach of the scarcely known contemporaries in The Lion Faced Boy.

- And those are only two of the total seven tracks, the remaining five of which rely on a much more soaring, melodic quality and bittersweet lyricism that, if it wasn't for a fortunate, believeable, fuzzy recording, could probably be compared to some of We The Kings' more forgiveable songs. Songs like "Promises & Rings" and "Castles & Crossroads" are young-Chris-Carabba kind of cute, and along with the anthemic-bordering-on-over-dramatic "His Name Is Chaos", these make up for a noticeably catchier side to Streetside Vinyl.

Overall though, catchy is actually a word that can be fairly attributed to most of the material on the record, marking it the kind of delightful early work that will great even forgetful listeners welcome upon future returns. The only problem seems the slight disjunction between the two approaches, and the risk of the success misleading the band to further polish the sounds that are already sugary as things are. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem likely to that we find out how things develop, as this was one record that took a long time to reach us, and the band has since gone on a "sort of hiatus", being unable to perform together due to education and various other commitments. Still though, with this as their first effort, they shouldn't completely shelve considerations of picking things back up eventually.


Download: Promises & Rings, His Name Is Chaos
For The Fans Of: a mixture of Straight Lines, The Lion Faced Boy and We The Kings

Release Date April 2012
Self-released (Carry The 4)

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