Miles Away - Rewind, Repeat... (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Miles Away

Rewind, Repeat... (2007)

6131 [U.S.] / Resist [Australia]

Maybe they just couldn't find much inspiration in a lack of Australian classicist hardcore; Miles Away's earlier releases largely aped the formula of Pacific Northwest youth crew revival (see: Champion, pre-Victory era Comeback Kid) of the Americas. While it was a solidly delivered sound, it was often rather forgettable, despite the improved songwriting that appeared on their second full-length, 2006's Consequences. While Rewind, Repeat... similarly fails to break new ground and again lacks memorable hooks, it gets by on several factors.

First and foremost is the recording: This is the best sonic coating Miles Away has been granted, this time courtesy of Alan Smith at Perth's Bergerk Recording Studios; whatever Smith does, it's pretty similar to the methods by Jim Siegel (Have Heart, Sinking Ships, Give Up the Ghost). All the band's racing/wailing/chugging guitars, angsty shouts and driven drum fills are swift and punchy. [Smith may have recorded the band's earlier stuff too -- I'm not sure; if so, he's shown a marked improvement.]

The songs themselves are also assuredly enjoyable, as hard as they are to recall minutes after the fact. The variations between songs are often hard to discover, but they're there, and not every single one of Miles Away's tracks are tempo change-void straightforward blasts. Just enough instrument alterations are deployed to keep things compelling, and the band build upon their sound in careful, subtle ways. The vocals still aren't particularly impressive, but they get the job done.

Miles Away are at their best with the three tracks that finish the album: "Safe as Houses" has a nice buildup to its climax and acoustic outro; "Affadavit" has affected guitar tones and a stirring hook opening the song that happily reoccurs throughout; and the title track closer is a soft, impressive instrumental that seems it could work as an opener or intermission all the same. Rewind, Repeat... is competent enough, but if these songs are a preview of the band's future endeavors (after all, this was recorded 9 months ago already), then the band's slow, prolonged progression may finally have some truly rewarding benefits.