59 Times the Pain

Twenty Percent of My Hand

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The second full-length by Sweden's 59 Times the Pain -- the group's first album to see U.S. release -- build on the strengths of 1996's More Out of Today by opening up the stylistic straightjacket of hardcore just a bit to incorporate occasional tempo shifts and some actual pop song approaches. The single "Don't Belong Here" has the pubbed-up shoutalong feel of a classic Sham 69 or Alternative TV single, complete with a genuinely catchy call and response chorus and a memorable guitar riff. Elsewhere, the whiplash dynamic shifts of the opening "With Instead of Against" recalls prime Fugazi and "Can't Change Me" manages to keep the self-reliant straight-edge persona from sounding annoyingly smug. While none of the rest of the album quite reaches the level of those outstanding songs, the looser and more relaxed feel, in comparison to the more tightly wound debut, makes Twenty Percent of My Hand a more compelling listen.

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