No Harm Done - Escape (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

No Harm Done

Escape (2008)

Think Fast!

No Harm Done is a young band, yet they've already managed to criss-cross the U.S., put out several releases and make a marked change in sound. Escape, their third full-length and debut for Think Fast!, strips down their style considerably. Instead of the gravelly, technical skatepunk-leanings of their earlier output, Escape succeeds on a more streamlined and poppy but totally competent and coherent melodic hardcore plane.

In the first few songs on Escape, immediate similarities to a more straightforward Crime in Stereo circa The Troubled Stateside ("I Decline") and post-reunion Lifetime ("One Thirty-Six AM") run rampant. It helps that vocalist Matt Cantwell has a slightly raspy but overall cleaner delivery than before and is now pretty reminiscent of CIS's Kristian Hallbert. Heck, fans of Set Your Goals will probably take a liking, too. In any event, the smoother flair helps No Harm Done sound more heartfelt and succinct.

A likely contributing factor to the band's simpler approach is the addition of guitarist Charles Chaussinand. In addition to running Get Outta Town Records, Chaussinand has played in Make or Break, a pretty straightforward hardcore act themselves. His fast-paced power chords and occasional frill helps provide a base that works for No Harm Done just as much as the guitar wizardry of their past did.

Escape makes good on its title, with the band often singing about wanting to leave their desolate state of Florida, from the anthemic, one-line opener "My Escape" to "Welcome to Florida" ("fuck the sunshine, fuck this state"), otherwise exploring loneliness, desperation and confusion common for the members' age (something like 16-20 or so).

No Harm Done already seemed to have their transition record with last year's EP, the appropriately titled The Start of Something New. Escape is definitely the first complete effort for them showing off their new chops, and though it doesn't feel entirely versatile or the songs too well-rounded, it's still a solid one at that. As the band further explore this new terrain, one can be assured their songwriting will get better and the ambition to try something new will push them into much more impressive territory.

Escape at the band's profile page