The Riot Before - So Long, The Lighthouse (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Riot Before

So Long, The Lighthouse (2007)

Quote Unquote

Mention that a punk band comes from Richmond, Virginia and you're bound to conjure up some preconceptions within anyone relatively seasoned in punk rock. Well, the Riot Before are from Richmond, Virginia. Take those preconceptions and run with them.

So Long, The Lighthouse is the one of band's first recorded efforts, and if it's any indication, we'll be hearing plenty of great things from them in the future. The five songs that make up the EP embrace the background and influences the band claims. With a sense of urgency lacking in most bands, the Riot Before blaze through 15 minutes of folk-punk with enough energy and sing-along moments to get any sweaty group of guys or gals in a club pumping their fists and shouting along with the band.

While not as up-tempo as some of their geographical contemporaries like Strike Anywhere, they'd fit perfectly on a bill between Smoke or Fire and Fake Problems. The album's best moment comes on the second track, "The Uttica Stare," which features a minimalist yet energetic chorus and tempo buildups that still hold the excitement of the song intact after repeated listens. Closing off the album, "Redneckties" features nothing but guitar and vocals from from Brett, the band's vocalist. It's a wonderful song, reminiscent, at least in spirit, of Against Me!'s earlier work, or more recently, the acoustic tracks from the Gaslight Anthem's, Sink or Swim.

The biggest complaint I have with the album is that it comes across fairly uneven. "The Mirror's Curse" lacks the production quality found in the other songs and the track order seems to flow from "fastest song" to "slowest song." I would have liked to see "The Mirror's Curse" left off the album, and maybe mixed up the order a bit, but I certainly wouldn't let that get in the way of purchasing it. However, you don't even have to do that, as the band's label Quote Unquote Records is giving it away for free -- but of course, donations are welcome.