The Arsons

Whole Life Crisis

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Greyarea's hiatus brings us the Arsons, coming out of the NYC punk underground with one of the best album names in awhile, Whole Life Crisis (issued through the Bouncing Souls' Chunksaah imprint). The album's a real throwback, freely mixing vintage California punk (Black Flag, Circle Jerks) with the melodic rush of the modern street punk sound. Twin guitars churn throughout the rousing "Better Person" and "Down," and gang vocals support vocalist Marc Adams on album highlight "Sweet Electricity." Adams isn't a particularly unique frontman; however, his phrasing is spot-on, recalling the best stuff on those old 7"'s stacked in your parents' garage. He and the Arsons consciously open Whole Life Crisis with their harder, less melodic material -- "Whole Life Crisis" and "Panasonic" bounce stinging riffs off Adams' treated, megaphone vocals -- avoiding the album's later nods toward shoutalong melody for the ragged, live-wire approach of those old west coast outfits. That doesn't mean the Arsons aren't just as adept at triumphant chord changes and heady pick slides -- they are, and they prove it. It's just refreshing to hear a band mixing both styles so boldly. Recommended.

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