Avail - Over The James (Cover Artwork)


Avail: Over The JamesOver The James (1998)
Lookout Records

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

Contributed by: Jon Kirby
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Somewhere along the line, some clever individual came up with the phrase "melodic hardcore" to describe California-sounding guitar punk bands (see Bad Religion, NOFX). The word become something of a warning light in punk, disdained by many. How could that melodic Fat Wreck type of shit be as powerfu.

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Somewhere along the line, some clever individual came up with the phrase "melodic hardcore" to describe California-sounding guitar punk bands (see Bad Religion, NOFX). The word become something of a warning light in punk, disdained by many. How could that melodic Fat Wreck type of shit be as powerful as Infest or Man Is The Bastard? A valid complaint, in a number of cases.

Where am I going with this? If you haven't put it together, Avail is 100% melodic hardcore in the truest sense. They have the kind of melodic sense most musicians would kill for, and as much hardcore intensity as a thousand patchwork crust bands. Over The James is one of their finest works. It has a slightly more polished, accessible sheen that detracts NOTHING from the intensity of the songs, before you ask.

These songs are catchy. This is the type of music that will be in your head all fucking week. The hooks, man, the hooks! The cry of 'How high's the price on my head?' in "August", the flawless chorus of "Scuffle Town" - this is the stuff that sends chills down your spine. These are songs tailor-made to be heard live with a mass of people screaming along to every word, but that you can have just as much of a good time listening to in your bedroom.

This is the type of album I'd recommend to everyone. It has a little something for everybody. It's catchy enough for anyone who demands melody in their punk, and has enough hardcore power to satisfy floor-punchers and back-patch stitchers across the globe. A can't miss proposition.

It's a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful day . . .


People who liked this also liked:
Avail - 4 AM FridayJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeJawbreaker - Dear YouLifetime - Jersey's Best DancersOperation Ivy - Operation IvyThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Bouncing Souls - The Gold RecordThe Clash - London Calling

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
lostandclowned (May 26, 2008)

"August" is what got me into the band. love 'em. see them live if you get the chance. they're a ton of fun.

this is my favorite avail album.

standout tracks like "deepwood" and "scuffletown" make the album what it is.

tim barry's lyrics are something i can relate to more than almost anything, and the sound of the band backing him up fits perfectly.

check out tim barry's solo album, especially the song "the church of level track".

Moop (October 7, 2003)

the guy who says the fat releases suck is lost. every AVAIL record has a different feel. Satiate does not sound like one wrench and Over the James does not sound like dixie. but one thing stays the same, the writing... Tim Barrys lyrics are always amazing.
OTJ is Tim at his his best, with songs like SRO and Cross Tie... DAMNIT JIM!
AVAIL rocks.

Anonymous (October 6, 2003)

I think the Fat releases are just as good as the ones released on Lookout.


Anonymous (October 6, 2003)

What happened top this band?
every release on Lookout was incredible!

The Fat wreck releases are horrible!

jheisel (October 6, 2003)

great album, but i still think dixie is better.

LushJ (October 6, 2003)

I never understood their recorded stuff until I heard this record. Live, yes, they are really top-notch, but on record, not really my thing. But then, "Over The James" came out and it was all over. Wow!

A little rock, a little punk, a whole lotta Whoa!!!

Perhaps the Turbonegro of the emo scene. Un-fucking-stoppable record.
P.S.- Strike Anywhere seem to be the heirs apparent to Avail's earnest punk/rock crown.

Anonymous (October 6, 2003)

its usually a slag when you say a bands gone downhill after a release, but in avails case, there fat albums are alright, but if i had put out over the james, I'd break my band up, its too good.

Its really flawless. and the production is tops. one of the best punk records period. Anthemic, original, powerful, and in a strange way twangy.

fucked up. changed my whole perspective on shit.

Anonymous (October 5, 2003)

Perfect review for a perfect album. Their best album, catchy and heavy with no sacrifices. Saw them live last night for the first time in Pittsburgh and they played a good majority of this album despite it being a few years old now. Just goes to show how great it is.

Anonymous (October 4, 2003)

dont forget at the drive-in.

at_the_drive_in_21 (October 4, 2003)

To that guy who posted below wondering what white collar punk was? I'd say Blink and Sum 41 fit the bill nicely.

Anonymous (October 4, 2003)

no they only have 1 singer...the other guys like the dancer who interacts w/ the crowd n what not
avail is easily the best live band in punk and hardcore

Anonymous (October 4, 2003)

This album is amazing, from start to finish. The music carries so much emotion, along with the great introspective lyrics. this is one of my all time favorite albums.

Theres Kepone in the river but the river's still flowing east...

this is also the only decent record lookout put out in that era.

Anonymous (October 4, 2003)

I think that Lawrence Arms are overrated.
Pop punk at its ordinary.

Anonymous (October 4, 2003)

P.S Hey Jonny boy

Wadda ya think of the Lawrence Arms?


Anonymous (October 4, 2003)

Another Nice Review

Jesus I love this site. Punk music flows through my non human veins like Stella Artois

Love Barkley

Anonymous (October 3, 2003)

Shit, I remember when the Pontomac river caught on fire. It was crazy. Some dude just threw a cigarette in the river and their was so much shit on it, it just caught on fire.


Anonymous (October 3, 2003)

I really like this CD.

The other Kirby.

- Scott

Anonymous (October 3, 2003)

by blue collar i can only think you mean "sloppy punk." either that or... wait.. what the fuck is white collar?

Anonymous (October 3, 2003)

does avail have 2 singers???

Anonymous (October 3, 2003)

I saw these guys in so cal and there were about 20 people there. Just goes to show you that California's music taste sucks ass.

Anonymous (October 3, 2003)

This CD is one of, if not their best. The lyrics are introspective of oneself while not being over-bearing. It's a working, blue collar mans band. They bring the rock. Too bad their last two albums after this one don't have the same feeling and therefore are not that good, but their first three before this one are awsome (and live CD is great too.) To see this band live is great, there's no other word to describe it. The power and energy they put into the performance is unmatched.

Anonymous (October 3, 2003)

I believe Mr. Brett of Bad Religion may have coined the "melodic hardcore" phrase. Say what you will of NOFX, but talking shit about Bad Religion should be a sin. I got this album for free, I like it, it doesnt make me want to get any more Avail, but I like it.

Anonymous (October 3, 2003)

best live band... ever.

first time i saw them was with rancid and the queers at the wetlands, nyc. seen em a bunch of times after and they never disappointed.

Anonymous (October 3, 2003)

I love driving around Richmond listening to this, its like the perfect soundtrack.

(p.s. the James River smells like ass)

Edgie (October 3, 2003)

Oh.. I forgot to add, my cousin saw them a year ago as well as the night they played with the Casualties.. he said they blew everyone away that night. It was at a different venue and with DKM (I think, don't kill me if I'm wrong). Anyway every band has off nights, it seemed like it was one of theirs.

Edgie (October 3, 2003)

A damn fine album, one of my favorite Avail CDs. One thing that irks me about the post below though, is that they don't always seem to be that great live. I saw them once awhile back at the State Theater when they played with the Casualties, and they just.. didn't seem to hit anything right. The music sounded good, but the intensity just wasn't there. I think part of the blame falls on the crowd for this one, because most of the kids there that night seemed to be there for the Casualties, and while I'm ashamed to admit it, the Casualties put on the better set that night. What should have been an amazing night was merely 'okay'.

Anonymous (October 3, 2003)

i like this record as much as i like 4am friday.

(more scat, less chat)

Dubar (October 3, 2003)

let me be the first to declare that this band is great in every conceivable way. One of the few bands in history with the perfect mix of melody, fury, excellent lyrics, and a kick-ass live show. If you don't like avail, I dont like you.

Anonymous (October 3, 2003)

awesome review.

and this is a truly great album.

good from start to finish.

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