For.the.Win. - The Black & the Blue (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


The Black & the Blue (2009)

Asian Man / Solidarity

For.the.Win. play a brand of punk rock that's awfully familiar -- the gruff, poppy, gritty kind (they call it 'Bay Area posi-core,' and their lyrics fit the description like a glove) -- but familiarity doesn't necessarily mean mediocrity, and their debut The Black & the Blue is an enjoyable slab of goodness that's packed to the brim with sincerity and other endearing qualities.

Fast, catchy foundations are prevalent in several of these songs, especially in the opening 1-2 punch of "Let It Begin" and "Another Day." There are some hardcore tinges in tracks like "Dirty Rock 'n Roll," "Pick This Loch" and "Attack" (the latter featuring some fairly neat chord progressions), but nothing in any of those songs is ever too brooding to stunt the record's momentum. "For the Win" and "Neckline" are poppier, catchier numbers, heavily reliant on on infectious melodies and solid gang/backup/group vocals. For.the.Win. does toy with longer, more anthemic song structures on "I'm an Outsider" and album closer "Die Young," and is able to pull it off relatively easily.

Again, there's nothing terribly groundbreaking here, but For.the.Win. is a nice addition to the rosters of Asian Man and Solidarity and The Black & the Blue is hopefully the beginning of something big for these guys, because we really can never have too many good Bay Area punk bands.