The Cardinal Sin - Oil And Water (Cover Artwork)

The Cardinal Sin

Oil And Water (2005)

Grey Flight

Featuring ex-members of Cadillac Blindside, the Crush and Songs Of Zarathustra, this Minnesota four-piece is a well-seasoned group of rock musicians, heavily influenced by the classic stripes of Jawbreaker and their modern interpreters the Alkaline Trio and Lawrence Arms. Oil And Water is a six-song EP that sounds inherently familiar to fans of the aforementioned influences, but with its own unique twist.

Lead vocalist James Russell offers a mix of mope and angst throughout this release, sometimes bearing an uncanny resemblance to Matt Skiba in his earlier years. The Alkaline Trio influence truly peaks on the third track, "Woke Up In Pain," which features the readily quotable lyrics "Good times gone dry / needing to hear a voice from a friend / I say I won't drift closer and closer to the deep end / I keep it close, deep in my head / So you don't see that I'm scared." As the darkness dissipates for only a moment, two songs later, fans of the Replacements will enjoy a terrific cover of "Bastards Of Young," and the song's cacophonous ending. The final tune, bearing this EP's title, gives off the impression of a true set closer - mid-paced and sing-a-long friendly, with agonizing lyrics about a relationship, not so surprisingly, taking on the characteristics of "oil and water." At least this band doesn't hide their lyrical subject matter in a haze of incompatible poetry.

The Cardinal Sin have an almost arena-rock feel on Oil And Water with its upfront recording style. Loud guitars and thumpin' drums take to the forefront of each song, with Russell's vocals fighting for similar attention. This element is a refreshing change from a countless number of bands that prop up their lead vocals above everything else, and leave their rhythm section limping behind. Rounding out the EP is some healthy, blood-splattered artwork that fits the Cardinal Sin's aura just fine. As if this hasn't already been made clear in this review, fans of Jawbreaker and old Alkaline Trio should definitely find something to like on Oil And Water.