Haymarket Riot - Bloodshot Eyes (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Haymarket Riot

Bloodshot Eyes (2001)


I listen to a lot of bands that get the old "they sound like Fugazi" comparison slapped on them. This is usually a compliment to the band, as Fugazi is without a doubt one of the most respected and revered bands in punk rock. Heck, I've used the phrase "imagine if Fugazi was from [insert band's hometown here]" numerous times to help describe up-and-coming bands to friends. The ironic part of all of this is, I don't even like Fugazi. I don't own a single one of their CDs nor have I ever possessed one MP3 of theirs for more than a few minutes. I have heard the band's entire catalog from start to finish, and nothing really impressed me. This makes me feel kind of dirty; I feel like I should amost have to like the band, considering everyone they've influenced [including the majority of my favorite bands]. What does this have to do with Haymarket Riot, you ask?

If I was to sum Haymarket Riot's "Bloodshot Eyes" up in one recommendatory phrase, it would be "I highly recommend this to fans of Fugazi or similiar DC-sounding post rock." Why do I like this album, then, even though I don't enjoy Ian Mackaye and company? I'm not really sure. It could be the great guitar and bass interplay that's present in tracks like "Castor Oil." Possibly it's the creepy vocals in "Placid" chanting over and over "these are the things that make us safe," musically and lyrically summoning up Engine Down to my mind. It could very well be the triumverate of tracks at the end of the album, "Immaculate, "Bought Your Weight," and "Wax!" All three showcase the band's incredibly tight rhythm section as well as enough in your face punk rock to make you take notice. "Wax!" becomes only the second song about surfing [that is not by the Beach Boys] I've ever caught myself singing along to, next to Weezer's "Surf Wax America." The band really puts 110% into this song in particular, and it's great as an album closer because it makes you want to play the whole disc again.

This CD isn't life-changing, but it's not anywhere near average either. Like I said before, fans of DC math/post rock will fall in love with this band's creative take on song structures within the punk rock time signature. My only complaint would be a lack of melody overall. There's just a little too much chaos at times for my tastes. This band isn't amazing -- yet. Give them a few more albums to establish themselves fully and you just might have another Fugazi on your hands -- one that I like this time.

Bought Your Weight