Contender - Awaywithwords (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Awaywithwords (2002)

Negative Progression

After releasing an EP "Scenic Overlook" in 2001 on Not Bad Records, this is the full-length debut of this Denver, CO band for Negative Progression.

Starting off the album with a scratchy 7" alike piano intro, the first song immediately indicates what this band is about: Hard bursts in both vocals and guitars, alternating with laidback melodic punkrock tunes or even some emotive parts. Kinda like the formula bands like Thursday and Thrice are known for I guess. In fact there's also that same tactic of 2 vocalists; one guy screaming and screeching his heart out anxiously (sometimes, like in "Hapworth", it even seems like the recordings continued while he was taking a pee on some toilet and sang from there), while the other guy is trying to get the melodies right. Although I have to say that I didn't think the melodic guy was sounding very steady in some songs ("A Call To Arms") where I was glad to hear the sreaming guy again.

The over-all sound of the album is not as sophisticated as Thrice's and is a bit more inviting to jump up and down on at times, but it has that same succession of intense heavier parts with held-back tension-building momentums. The more basic punkrock approach is documented with a cover of Pinhead Gunpowder's song "Keeping Warm In The Nighttime" (from their 1994 album Jump Salty). A song like "Hapworth" could have been on a Jawbreaker album, while "The Sum Of All Parts" is showing Good Riddance resemblance in the first part of the song. Closing song and title track "Awaywithwords" is geared up with some string-arrangement that add a strange mood to the song. It's really a collection of styles that are blended together to result in a pretty powerful, sometimes endearing but most of all an intense sound topped with thoughtful poetic lyrics. Pick this one up if you like it hard yet melodic and catchy.

Highlights for me were songs "At A Glance", "Awaywithwords" and especially "Now I Have the Conch".