Avail - Over The James (Cover Artwork)

Avail

Avail: Over The James

Over The James (1998)

Lookout!

Jon Kirby
5
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...

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 . . .