Belvedere - Fast Forward Eats The Tape (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Fast Forward Eats The Tape (2004)

Union 2112 (Union Label Group)

Belvedere is the living embodiment of punk rock work ethic. I hold them in the highest regard for being on the road as much as they have and cultivating some of the most devoted fans I've met. Yet despite all my praise of how they "play the game," I admit this is a band that's never been able to hold my attention. Sure, they've developed their riffy, full throttle skate punk to an art form, but there's always been something about their songwriting that's failed to grab me. Suffice to say, Belvedere's been a long time member my melodic punk B-team.

Fast Forward Eats The Tape changes that. While there's nothing fundamentally different about this work and their back catalogue, they've further refined their craft with really satisfying results. The band's made some huge strides vocally and has delivered some truly gigantic vocal hooks on this record. Instrumentally Belvedere's as proficient as always, but there's more focus to their playing and the songs sound tighter for it. This is a band that's always (much like present day Propagandhi and Thrice) mixed their punk rock with a love of big metallic riffs, but this is the first time that aspect's seemed so well integrated and purposeful (not just "awesome for the sake of awesome," if you get my meaning). All these improvements are evident on tracks like "Closed Doors" (which has an incredibly infectious chorus), "Quicksand," "All About Perspectives" or the melodic powerhouse "Brandy Wine" (redone from the version on their split with Downway). The single "Slaves To The Pavement" is another highlight. It captures several of the band's vocal and instrumental dynamics and features a particularly killer solo (on an album that has many). The only downside here is the recording as a whole feels a bit thin. There are some huge rocking moments here and they just don't seem to have the bite they should have in the recording.

Fast Forward Eats The Tape is a great effort and worth checking out. It's not hard to see this going over huge with Belvedere's rabid fanbase, but in a year when so many melodic punk heavyweights are releasing hugely anticipated records, I fear the Calgary four piece might get lost in the shuffle.