Social Code

A Year at the Movies

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Canadian quartet Social Code are a raging post-grunge alternative rock act trapped in the body of a pop-punk band: A Year at the Movies is full of the aforementioned rockers brimming with the latter's emo-like lyrics. These are then spouted by a gravelly Travis Nesbitt, no doubt singing live to masses of Good Charlotte and Billy Talent T-shirts. The guys are nearly a rehash of late-'90s club pleasers Lit and SR-71, though with a youthful exuberance (regardless of whatever their ages may be) big enough for arenas. Seeing as the band originally came together in 1999, though, it's probably fitting all the same. Huge chords, lofty choruses, crunching guitars, and bashing drums may all combine for each attitude-fueled track, but Social Code also manage to indulge their sensitive side in the power-angst of tracks like "Gone Away," "I Was Wrong," and "Perfect Grave." "Beautiful" is a riff-bouncing, invigorating mix of passionate vocals and driving rhythms supported by an amusing background section of shouted "Bahm! Bahm! Bahm!" that's near impossible to not bop along to, while "Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly)" includes a soaring chorus on top of tumbling drumbeats and the inclusion of occasional screams (hah, get it?). The empowered "Cats and Dogs" is largely propelled by spirited background vocals and, at track number four, somewhat marks the end of the album's most distinctive tracks. The rest of the album is more than competent albeit standard rock, presumably helped along in part by Jeff Blue's clean production touch and the expert mixing skills of Mark Trombino (blink-182, Jimmy Eat World). Everything seems to rise, explode, and put itself back together repeatedly with both precision and skill. Because Social Code are hardly playing anything new, it almost feels wrong to enjoy the overall album as much as you do. But hey, sometimes it's better to just ignore the guilt and sing along.

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