East to West

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Popular Orange County punks Madcap attempted to further refine their sound with the band's sophomore effort, East to West. The album opens with "Bright Lights, Big City," a blustery three-chord rocker that sounds similar to Rancid, jumping straight into "These Old Feelings," a rowdy call-and-response number that comes across like the Dropkick Murphys without the Irish brogue. Not every song on East to West sounds like some other band, though, cuts like the riff-heavy "Hometown," the spirited "Streets of Belief," and the raucous "Situation Breakdown" providing Madcap with a distinctive, guitar-driven sound coupled with intelligent lyrics. "Parental Advisory" is an unlikely anthem for disaffected youth everywhere, snarled vocals underlined by a circular guitar riff; "Desolate Town" is an aggressive tale of boredom on the road. "Heaven or Hell" is "Born to Run" for a new generation, with "We Gotta Get Out of This Place"-styled lyrics and an underlying tenderness overshadowed by the song's energy. At times, Madcap's twin guitarists sound too much like Lars Frederiksen, but the band's bassist and drummer deliver some explosive rhythms beneath the growled, shouted, and strained vocals. A solid creative effort, East to West illustrates a band still trying to discern its true musical identity.

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