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Hostage Life - Walking Papers (Cover Artwork)

Hostage Life

Hostage Life: Walking PapersWalking Papers (2006)
Underground Operations

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:


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

"Don't judge an album by its label" is the type of saying that seems to get thrown around a lot in the world of punk. I'd say I had to agree when listening to the debut full-length by Hostage Life. Their label, Underground Operations holds amongst their lackluster releases albums by Bombs Over Provi.
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"Don't judge an album by its label" is the type of saying that seems to get thrown around a lot in the world of punk. I'd say I had to agree when listening to the debut full-length by Hostage Life. Their label, Underground Operations holds amongst their lackluster releases albums by Bombs Over Providence and Dead Letter Debt., which have been mediocre to downright bad. Like those bands, Hostage Life contains alumni from Toronto's mid-to-late `90s melodic punk stalwarts, Marilyn's Vitamins. Luckily for the listener, Hostage Life puts a reasonably refreshing spin to their collection of Clash inspired punk ditties.

While a Clash influenced street punk vibe that Rancid seems to love can be readily found in the guitar progressions and socio-political lyrics, there are a few different tricks the band comes up with throughout that keep things fresh. Some really solid guitar work is displayed throughout the album, such as the solo on the single "This Song Was Written by a Committee." The band really works best when they try a more straight-up mid-paced old-school rock'n'roll sound, such as on "How to Die with a Smile" or "The Quietest Mutiny." Those two songs cover a similar territory to what One Man Army and the Ducky Boys have done in the past. While a lot of the songs have a throwback flavour the band plays slivers of a more modern melodic punk flair at times during songs like "Carbon Heart Radio" and "Hell Awaits Hostage Life."

All in all, vocalist Colin still has a great sneering voice to lead the band and the guitar playing is effective throughout the release. However one of the real strengths of the band for me was the drumming; there is some rhythms on this that will undoubtedly shake the body politic. The record does fail to deliver in some respects such as the lyrics, where Colin's heart is in the right place talking about a range of topics from the working stiff, greed and an unwanted pregnancy but sometimes the actual words themselves fall flat. Due to this and a few non-distinct guitar melodies there are a number of songs that just don't stick. You get the feeling the band won't really care what some review says though from the line "I ain't looking for respect or rewards / please talk shit on your message boards," which is fantastic and about as punk as oh I don't know, yelling "fuckyouoioioi."

This is a very promising debut record that is down to earth, humour injected and will get you moving too.

 

 
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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.
SilentStorms (October 24, 2006)

Ummm, UO was where Protest The Hero started off - and they kick ass.

katieclark420 (October 23, 2006)

To the guy who said Slute is on UO... check your facts again and come back when you have something intelligent to say.

Anonymous (October 22, 2006)

marilyns vitamins are one of my favourite bands of all time. go track down "in these shoes" and "politics on the dance floor," both great albums

Anonymous (October 21, 2006)

now now, UO has a ton of shitty bands to rest on the shoulders of.

i hate sally, machete avenue, slute....

things are lookin up for UO

blake88 (October 21, 2006)

since bombs and c.m. broke up and with the over american touring of protest the weight of UO is squarely on hostage lifes shoulders theyre good but i dont think they can pull it off

Anonymous (October 21, 2006)

Kids around here (Toronto) love them, im not really impressed though. saw them with the flatliners and much the same last week and those bands were way better

SloaneDaley (October 20, 2006)

I must apologize to the poster I lashed out at, you are forgiven. To clear things up about my oh so apt insult a reading comprehension book is that given to young school children so they can develop their understanding and critical thinking toward simple texts. Therefore I was implying you need to develope your most primary of reading skills. For the record I did spell check and grammar check before submitting the review, which reads just fine. I'm not sure if you attacked it just cuz I don't enjoy the album as much as you but I actually point out a lot of good things about the album. I'm going to get drunk and I suggest you do too, good night.

Anonymous (October 20, 2006)

okay, genius. good call. i need a reading comprehension book. however will i read it, what with my problems with comprehension.

i do actually suffer from cretinism, so that last jab was particularly painful.

long day? no shit. that or sand in your vagina. chillax.

SloaneDaley (October 20, 2006)

big fan of this band and release.
also a big fan of coherent reviews written with grammar on the mind.
so, i'm half psyched.


I've had a long day so I'm gonna say balls to you, my review is coherent. If you don't understand it maybe you need a reading comprehension book you fucking cretin. Write your own goddamn review if you're such a fan.

Anonymous (October 20, 2006)

big fan of this band and release.
also a big fan of coherent reviews written with grammar on the mind.
so, i'm half psyched.

SloaneDaley (October 20, 2006)

i can't believe the killers got a higher rating than this.

neither can I. The scores of albums as well as reviews are by different reviewers and staff members. I didn't review the Killers album. If I had the score would be very different.

feeeding5000 (October 20, 2006)

My reviews didn't get published???? Whaaaat??? Oh...uhh...nice job with the FuckYouOiOiOi stab.

Anonymous (October 20, 2006)

i can't believe the killers got a higher rating than this.

ryanbolger (October 20, 2006)

very first.

the one with "and i thought summer was rough" on it.

Anonymous (October 20, 2006)

we can never hate on bombs, one of the best bands to ever come out of southern ontario.

and by first ep do you mean the very first or the first one they did with UO

ryanbolger (October 20, 2006)

this is good, but nothing that this scene of bands releases will ever touch bombs over providence's first release.

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