Hours of Operation: Discography 1991-1994 showcases the early years of Friction, a Chicago-based group of emo rockers. With more than 30 songs collected together, this compilation is a potent dose of the Friction sound and an interesting way to watch a band develop. Starting with a sound that was firmly based in the Dischord post-hardcore movement, the bandmembers wrote songs that reflected their Jawbox/Jawbreaker obsessions, but with a melodic twist that they slowly develop throughout the disc. "Cassyflies" is the first track to recognize this shift in direction, but as the album goes on, they manage to develop a friendlier, less tense approach. This helps immensely, as their dynamic grows twice as large and the album begins to bounce back and forth between the tense feel of their early work and the later poppy punk balance they managed to create. They move back and forth between these styles effortlessly, revealing increasingly impressive skills as the recordings go by. Covers of Jawbreaker, the Misfits, and the Arrows are interesting but uneventful, while their original material goes from being fairly good to really great as the album progresses. There are a few lulls on the second disc as they venture a little too far toward post-punk experimentation and repeat several songs from the first disc, but for the most part this is a great collection that documents an emo band growing into its own skin.
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AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2