Halifax

The Inevitability of a Strange World

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Taking a forceful step forward from their A Writer's Reference EP, Halifax have noticeably upped the aggression factor on The Inevitability of a Strange World. While their songs are still pop-punk blasts of energy, this time the guys throw in some piss and vinegar that gives them a much harder, tougher feel without resorting to screamo antics. Energetic drumbeats fuel this fierce attitude throughout the album, but in that passionate way to rile up the mosh pit rather than like the hostile aggression of bands that just want to kill their ex-girlfriends. Don't be fooled, though: lyrically, the band can also spout bitterness -- "Listen sweetie/You never meant that much to me/Hope your eyes can see what you did to me/You'll always be my enemy" -- but it's probably nothing that good friends or a new, healthy relationship couldn't fix. With its opening Van Halen-esque riffs, searing guitar leads, and a spirited background chorus of "Hell yeah!," "Our Revolution" plays like Halifax were really a hair metal band raised on blink-182. Other songs follow in the same vein -- they're not blatant classic rock ripoffs, but upbeat rockers like "Under Fire" and "Anthem for Tonight" are, well, just plain anthemic. And not only does "Hey Italy" prove that breaking up is still no reason to not flail about, it also shows that Halifax should stick more to the boisterous side of the pop-punk formula, as many of their later attempts to slow things down do nothing more than give listeners a chance to catch their breaths. Overall, the album fits in nicely with the Warped Tour majority -- "I Told You So" sounds like a lost song from Brand New's early years -- but there's something about The Inevitability of a Strange World that seems like it should've been released during Drive-Thru's heyday in the early 2000s to really make a lasting impact.

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