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January 15, 2005

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Every genre of music has it's handful of legendary bands that stick out as pioneers and icons in their inclusive style. Regardless of whether you're a fan of a genre or not, there are sometimes musicians that can traverse the boundaries of musical preference and reach the ears of many. Most everyone has heard of the Richmond, Virginia phenomenon Strike Anywhere in some form or another, and whether or not they can relate to their music, most people can appreciate them as being one of the most powerful outfits in punk for years. After their numerous successful records cluttered with anthems of politically charged beauty, the fine people at Jade Tree Records deemed it worthy to re-release some of the rare material and older stuff that might not have been attainable by today's class of fans otherwise. This upcoming album entitled “To Live In Discontent” is a perfect retrospective on Strike Anywhere and a great opportunity for old and new fans alike to reminisce on this classic band.

Throughout the thirteen tracks on the cd you've got a span of four years worth of recording and pieces of seven previous releases. One thing that initially caught my eye was that they've gotten every song off the lesser known, yet wildely popular “Chorus Of One” EP that was released on Red Leader Records back in 2001. That alone includes six of the tracks on this record and can in itself be a good merit of obtaining this release. I had personally only heard a little bit of that EP before, but now that it's been redone and re-released it does the music so much justice I wish I had gotten more familiar with it in prior years. The production on this cd is really great and provides the exact sound and feel you would come to expect from anything associated with Strike Anywhere.

I've always been a huge fan of the songwriting skills this band has and the fact that they've never been afraid to voice their opinions on anything. Reliving their history over the past few years and being reminded exactly how musically talented they are and just how melodically beautiful and powerful they've always been is certainly a nice refreshing listening experience. Every track on the album was chosen pretty carefully and only the best material with the catchiest riffs, most upbeat rhythms and classic lyrical content was selected. What amazes me about the musical lineage of these guys is that when you look back and listen to their progression as a band over the years they've stayed very consistent with their original goals and sound (which is rare for bands today to do), yet they've never become stagnate or boring at any point in their career. Truly, Strike Anywhere have earned their right to be in today's punk/hardcore community.

I can't speak for everyone as to whether or not this album will be enjoyable or worthy of buying, but what I can say is that Strike Anywhere are one of those bands that have done nothing but give fans reasons to love their music and respect them as musicians. “To Live In Discontent” is an extremely passionate biography of the accomplishments and abilities this band has reached since their inception and only goes to show that true punk artists still exist and are capable of creating quality music. Writing material that is fueled by a love for music and the cause of affecting fans who listen has become a thing of the past with most genres including the majority of “punk” groups. That is not even remotely the case with Strike Anywhere as can be evidently seen in their latest release. “To Live In Discontent” is hands down an amazing album and a must have for anyone who previously loved this group or can appreciate any of the above statements.

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