H2O - Use Your Voice (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Use Your Voice (2015)

Bridge Nine Records

Toby Morse has had quite a life in terms of the punk movement. From fanboying and performing on stage with Sick Of It All, then going through the maze of indie labels and bigger labels with H20, only for a drastic crash from the summit. But as much as we'd call it a crash, personally, H20 have never really lost what made their music appeal in the first place and even after periods of time where we'd hear nothing from them, honestly, they never really went away. After a lot of downtime, 2008's Nothing To Prove felt like moving on from the '90s skate/melodic punk days in terms of emotions and attitude but still maintained a strong punk sensibility. After a seven-year time-out, extensive touring and time to soak in the rigors of life, Bridge Nine once more harnesses the strongest points of H20 through Use Your Voice, which isn't just about shows on the road or making music but it's an album that shifts the band's perspective from a punk narrative to a life narrative as punk-rockers who've matured and dealt with so many bumps in the road.

This album really speaks about character and overcoming adversity, which is ironic given bassist Adam Blake had to step in more as a writing and musical driving force with the departure of old guitarist/vocalist Todd Morse. His dynamic with Toby though sees them cultivating something richer than ever talking about the brighter side of life and how everything they love drowns out the cynicism. Toby's a well-known advocate, speaking on positive mentality and attitudes in life, and it translates nicely to quick fits of jabbing punk like "Thick and Thin", "Father Figure" (chiming in on fatherhood), "Skate!" (touching on the brazen days of youth) and "Popage" which addresses the current state of music being more product than art.

Ripping guitars and a chronic sense of rage on the drums really bring to light why H20 is a band that'll always stand the test of time. It's like they never skipped a beat. "#NotRealLife" helps close things out with a a tongue-in-cheek shot at society moving on in a digital era which H20 warns to be careful about. Big hooks and melodic singalong anthems off Use Your Voice are definitely going to fuel so many pits when they unveil all these live together. Very solid batch of jams from a band that always did big things in my eyes, no matter what corporate labels or MTV said otherwise.