To Live in Discontent bundles Strike Anywhere's out-of-print 2001 EP Chorus of One with outtakes from 2003's Exit English, a handful of previously vinyl-only material, and a few choice covers. Despite the grapeshot it's a pretty cohesive release, sacrificing none of the Virginia-based hardcore collective's political vitriol, nor its flair for brain-stinging melody. Fans of wide-angle acts like AFI will rally behind the harmonies and triumphant chord changes of "Antidote" (from a 2000 7" for Fat Wreck), but then Thomas Barnett rips into a line like "Poverty is the biggest and strongest jail that the government ever built," and you know you're dealing with kids who grew up on the righteous ethos of D.C. hardcore. That's what's great about Strike Anywhere -- its consciousness is catchy. That sound continues through "Chorus of One" (where this comp's title comes from), the strident guitar breakdowns of "Incendiary," and the hyper-driven mission statement "Cassandratic Equation," in which Barnett declares his revolt for "the vision of strength." He wouldn't be more sincere if he sweat blood. Throughout To Live in Discontent it's that old lockstep hardcore rhythm, but Strike Anywhere manages to make it new on each track. (Garth Petrie's evocative, Joe Lally-esque bass work is a constant highlight.) "Sunspotting" dates from a 1999 demo, and features a great basement four-track mix -- the guitar's in your left ear, the drums are too loud, and the vocals emanate from the jury-rigged isolation booth. Amazing. As for the covers, the Gorilla Biscuits nod ("Two Sides") makes perfect sense, as both that band and the resulting Quicksand are in Strike Anywhere's every seam. Dag Nasty's "Values Here" is modified with a richer melody, and the unit adopts the working-class Cockney aesthetic perfectly for Cock Sparrer's "Where Are They Now?" Overall, a pretty incredible record. With To Live in Discontent, Strike Anywhere furthers its own rep as one of modern-day hardcore's most vital acts, while paying tribute to the heroes and records that made the band believe.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus