Lock And Key - Pull Up The Floorboards (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Lock And Key

Pull Up The Floorboards (2004)

Deep Elm

For those who like their punk rock emotional, but not overdone...for those who like their music dirty-sounding, but not underproduced...for those who love the chords grungy, but not sloppy-sounding...for those who weren't too enthused with the new sound on Hot Water Music's latest album: Deep Elm gives you Lock And Key.

The four-piece Boston-based outfit delivers ten songs that each carry the urgency, conviction, and somewhat raw tendencies of earlier Hot Water Music. Frankly, every detail is there. There's the overlapping, powerful dual guitarwork and purposely-messy production that manages to fit the music perfectly. And of course, there's the guitar-slinging lead vocalist, who happens to be a dead ringer for Chuck Ragan with his throaty roar (pre-New What Next, obviously), and smooth, clean backups from another guitarist.

Arguably, standouts include "303" and "Albatross." There's sincerity if not simplistic yearning in the former's key line of "if anybody's got my heart, it's you" and a catchy, somewhat more uptempo venture in the latter with competing riffs that close it out (and form an unintentional yet perfect segue into "Cover The Tracks").

Although the band and album name might scream hardcore, you really need to add the "post" prefix to guess it right. The album keeps its moods and pace consistent, and even when it takes a tempo-shifting chance in a song like "Beneath The Surface," its late-record presence makes it a nice fit.

This is the type of album where I'd probably be inclined to end the review with "For fans of:" and then repeat the same band name over and over again. In most cases, though, that would automatically label the band cheap, watered-down rehashment, whereas Lock And Key is the exception. They certainly push the borders of "similar to," but pull it off well. Their influences are worn visibly on their tattered short sleeves (they also list Small Brown Bike and Leatherface as such on their pureVOLUME site) but narrowly avoid a complete rip-off scheme.

Process Of Molting