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August 14, 2001

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If you're in the northeast,that might sound strange to you, but this smallish southern city has become to punk what Athens, GA was to college rock in the 80's. And Strike Anywhere is yet another in a list of great punk bands that hail from there (Avail, Ann Beretta, Sixer), proving once again that you don't have to be from Metro DC to rock it in Virginia.

After delivering an impressive debut EP, Chorus of One (Red Leader Records), and contributing a number of songs to the notable 7" of the Month Club, Strike Anywhere's long-awaited debut on Jade Tree is here. A beautiful combination of politics and talent, Change is a Sound proves that this band has what it takes to become one of Jade Tree's melodic hardcore staples.

Change is a Sound lays complex politics over familiar, but not tired, hardcore. The album has the bread and butter elements including tight rhythms, even mix of melody and power, and solid breakdowns. The album is an intense ride through all the emotions you'd expect from an well-built, skilled hardcore band. But that's not even the best part. The band's true strength lies in their belief in the power of the individual. That feeling of political dedication - that level of involvement - amplifies every song. It's political punk at its best. Every song carries the statement that change IS a sound.

And that's what takes this album from being an average political punk record to a collection of anthems. From the title and antifascist symbol on the cover alone, you know that you're picking up a political record. But it's the conviction behind these songs makes you believe in the band's politics. This Operation Ivy-like quality goes missing from so many political bands - and that's why most political bands never reach the community-at-large. It's all about the convergence of music and politics.

But maybe you've had your fill of politics these days. Maybe you don't want to hear "watch us grow up to war..." right now. If that's the case, take this record at face value. Throw out the liner notes, close your eyes, and imagine that Strike Anywhere is singing about girls and heartache, about life like bad sitcoms. It won't change a thing. The music will still bleed, and Change is a Sound will still sit at the top of your "Best Records of 2001" pile.


Concetta Ceriello