The Blackout Pact - Hello Sailor (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Blackout Pact

Hello Sailor (2005)

Astro Magnetics

Like Pittsburgh's Voice in the Wire or Long Island, NY's Latterman (both tourmate matches made in heaven) Boulder, CO's the Blackout Pact are further proof of Hot Water Music's musical punk rock influence extending well beyond the swamps of Gainesville, Florida in 2005. Per their peers mentioned here, it's more an influence as opposed to total style replication, but still rather visible with one look at their proverbial sleeves. It's gritty, melodic, mid-tempo, emotional punk/indie rock that's helping quickly further the diversity of a young label to which is owned by Geoff Rickly (Thursday), and producing repertoire while we're at it (My Chemical Romance's first full-length is his sole other credit).

Hello Sailor, the band's debut full-length, is surely a great offering of uplifting, mid-to-fast-paced punk and just enough of an angularity to distance it a bit from their peers. Opener "We Drink So You Don't Have To" must be the best example to be found on the half-hour disc of this; it's got great, abrupt time changes, rambled, high-charged lead vocals, a signature hook in "breathing lights has gotten easier somehow," and invigorating gang shouts of "LET'S BEGIN / BEGIN AGAIN!" towards its finish. It's here we also hear initial similarities to fellow HWM followers Bear vs. Shark. While the light snare taps, quietly uttered singing, and full gang chorus of down-tempo closer "Lapis Lazuli" resembles most any one of the slower-paced jams off Terrorhawk (BvS's "Baraga Embankment" notably), the opener certainly bounces along with a funky guitar tone and that similar BvS vigor as well. "If You Dress Up Like Halloween, Ghouls Will Try and Get in Your Pants" has a jumpy guitar lead and builds well to its climaxing end. "You Punch Me, I Punch You" squeals with guitar tones highly reminiscent of the aforementioned VitW, specifically that band's song "Ash Black."

There's not much else to say. Geoff Rickly does a nice job with production, too, as there's just enough of a raw overfinish to compliment the Blackout Pact's sound, never making them sound overpolished or sickly slick, which simply makes sense for an album like Hello Sailor. It's a solid debut, but I'm more looking forward to what TBP have to offer next, as the band's strident, indie rock-fueled, emotional punk is assuredly hinting at something much greater.

We Drink So You Don't Have To
Welcome to the Refreshments Room
I Punch You, You Punch Me

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