Volume 5 of Sub City Records' Take Action! benefit compilation is its finest offering in years, and all because of the implementation of one smart idea: Put together one disc made up of new-school pop-punk, emo, metalcore, and "post-hardcore" acts for the younger set, and another one composed of both veteran and younger punk rock and indie rock bands. Why it took so long to think of this idea, I'm not entirely sure, but it's opened up the possibilities in wonderful ways.
Disc One is bands who fit the previously mentioned mold, and it's seemingly separated into genre blocks, some of which are vague, others surely accurate. It opens with a trifecta of, if you will, "intense" post-hardcore, those bands being Underoath, the Fall of Troy, and Saosin, the last of which is Disc One's sole previously unreleased track, and certainly worth mentioning. Saosin's demo of "Sleepers" here is much improved from its earlier version that appeared on the band's lackluster self-titled EP of last year; the guitars slide along stronger and Cove Reber's usual highs sound worlds more natural. We then find ourselves in an ensemble of emo/pop-punk, 11 songs long in fact. Of note is Boys Night Out's "Medicating," which, while may be an easily available single to include on the compilation, contains a context can be taken out and recognized as a woefully appropriate selection to the set. If BEDlight for BLUE Eyes wasn't stuck between Emery and the Receiving End of Sirens, I'd guess they were going for a short number of "epic" post-hardcore acts. A Life Once Lost, HORSE the Band, the Number Twelve Looks Like You and As I Lay Dying round it out with respective metalcore -- one more a grind act, but I digress -- numbers.
Disc Two caters to an audience -- surely no intended offense -- likely reading this now, as it showcases some of the most popular and respected modern punk bands. It begins with an awfully depressing-sounding Joey Cape of Lagwagon and Bad Astronaut fame giving the PSA; the tone of his voice is understandable however, as in recent times he's experienced the problem first-hand with the tragic suicide of former drummer Derrick Plourde occurring early last year. Things pick up on a more upbeat note immediately following with Dropkick Murphys' "The Warrior's Code;" granted, it's about a boxer, but the line "quitters never win" sets an appropriate theme. Strike Anywhere and A Wilhelm Scream provide great album cuts in the disc's early goings, and Lagwagon the solid "Fallen," a previously unreleased track. Not all the songs here are winners, but it's a good, consistent style throughout. Ramonescore fans will be pleased to know of an impressive, previously unreleased track from Teenage Bottlerocket entitled "Pull the Plug," which is upbeat and uptempo, providing most everything you can ask for in a pop-punk song. Against Me!'s "Don't Lose Touch" works well in the middle portion, as does the Loved Ones' EP (better) version of "100K." Some more of the decidedly "less punk" or off-the-beaten-path acts make their respective appearances closing out the disc, getting weird and/or more obscure with each passing band: I Am the Avalanche, Cursive, Maxeen, the AKAs, Hockey Night, Solea, and Broken Spindles. It gives the disc a healthy, sudden injection of diversity to close it out.
As always, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Kristin Brooks Hope Center. Kudos to Sub City on this one, as not only does it continue to support a more than worthy cause, but it puts forth the great results of a smart idea.