(Personal Story Review)
I'm from Thousand Oaks, a little afluent suburb in Southern California. Thousand Oaks is a strange place, or at least it is to me...probably just because I'm from it. Anyway, we're pretty close to another little town called Oxnard. Oxnard, as some may know, had and has had a strong punk scene since the 80's, with bands like Aggression, Ill Repute, Dr. Know, and most recently No Motiv all hailing from the area.
I guess, just by the close proximity, Thousand Oaks has had a decent sized scene for awhile. Most famous is Strife, the Victory Records hardcore band that all but defined modern west coast hardcore. But we also have some smaller bands like Insurgence (a hardcore band that has since evolved into the pop-rock Hometown Heros, who just got signed to Maverick/Warner and you'll hear them shortly on Tony Hawk 3), Countervail, Surface, and Status Records.
Another, smaller band from Thousand Oaks called Homemade made two albums with Pennywise guitarist Fletcher's label, Theologian Records, and did absolutely nothing with them. No touring, no interviews, seldom any local shows. I bet Fletcher is pretty pissed off. They were good records, and even though they were on Theologian, they didn't sound like Pennywise.
"What Were We Getting Into, Before We Got Into This?" was the band's second and final effort, before breaking up from members living too far away and overall laziness. But everything about this album, aside from the cover art, is wonderful. It starts off with a rocker, "Turn It Off", a song with a good hook and some fun lyrics--"You think you're so concrete because your hair was blue when you were six."--and goes on from there with a good variety of rock and some pretty sincere emotions. Stand outs for me are "Page 9 of My Journal" (the guitar part still gives me chills listening to it) and "Black Curtains", an incredible hardcore song about losing a family member. "Sleepless" may well fit into the category of punk-emo power ballad, and kudos to the group for not editting singer Kyle's gasps for air while trying to sing.
Musically, I'd say this is closest to No Motiv or Dag Nasty, as in punk kids who started playing more rock, with some Hot Water Music and Jets To Brazil influences. It was pretty interesting to see this band progress from melodic hardcore (Of their debut, Punk Planet remarked "Three words: Fat Wreck Chords. And they're not on it") to something with much more depth and diversity. Pity more people never saw them or don't even know they exist.
Now, guitarist Tom is playing with Strife, vocalist Kyle helps out promoting bands in San Diego and sometimes tours with them, like Tristeza, and bassist Brian is hanging out in Santa Barbara and jamming occasionally. Brian is my older brother. So much for objective journalism...
(Personal Story Review)