One Reason - All Rivers Run South, All Roads Lead Home (Cover Artwork)

One Reason

All Rivers Run South, All Roads Lead Home (2004)


Listening to this CD makes me scratch my head. This is an interesting record, and one that is hard to put your finger on. You would not be far off if you were to describe One Reason's sound as Avail-esque Southern punk rock by way of Floridian emo [Hot Water Music, Against Me!]. Not to say that there isn't a unique touch to every aspect of their music; far from it. The dual throaty male and female vocals certainly add a degree of freshness to this tunage, especially considering that Ginger puts forth some of the most badass female vocals I've ever heard without sounding contrived or forced.

What's very odd is that some of the songs are spot on and amazing [The Black And The Red, Dead End Roads] while other can just feel awkward or boring [Sometimes We Bleed, Bout Time We Give Something A Try]. Everything between these two extremes is also covered. From the punked-up pace of "Legacy of Empty Buildings" to the almost-rambling "Southern Rock Anthems," this record has a nice musical diversity that helps keep it interesting. The closer, a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "No Surrender" ties the entire package together nicely.

Lyrically this album dances around the theme of the band's hometown, Cleveland Mississippi. It tackles a wide spectrum of issues, be they personal, social or political [and make no mistake, the three are always overlapping]. The genocide of Native Americans has been tackled in song before, but never as eloquently as "This is our original sin/our eulogy on a bathroom wall/and some movie that we never cried at/about your family dead on the side of the road/no wonder they hate us." The lyrics are always thought-inducing and paint vivid pictures, although they tend towards the generic end of things on select cuts.

If one thing shines through on this album, it's that One Reason are an amazing band with the clout to write one of the best and most important punk albums of the past five years. However, this is not that album. This is just a rocking, fun and thoughtful record. It sounds like the band had a good time making this and put energy into these performances, but it's not mindless by any means. I look forward to checking out their future efforts to see if they produce that life-changing album.