Side Walk Slam

Past Remains

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The debut album from this Christian punk trio is clearly intended to fit in a well-defined niche: The obvious referent is Green Day by way of Blink-182 (drummer Matt Jackson even looks like Travis Barker). Side Walk Slam boasts a similar charming, tightly controlled energy, but, gratefully, a bit less fake British accent and, sadly, a little less Beatlesque songcraft. But even if the band's hooks aren't quite as irresistible as those of their compadres in the pop-punk pantheon, there are still plenty of great shoutalong choruses here: "Love Letters" and "I'll Be Waiting at the South-Side Tracks" are both eminently hummable, and "Everyday" manages to be sweetly melodic even while it roars along at about 4,000 bpm. On the other hand, "Eve" is almost two minutes of pure unshirted rage, and on that song the band sounds more like a missionary version of Rancid ("A word of advice/Don't stray away from God") than anything else. On the evidence presented by its debut album, Side Walk Slam could well eventually digest their influences and become a force to be reckoned with.

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