Red Tape Parade - The Floor (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Red Tape Parade

The Floor (2009)


In retrospect, Red Tape Parade's debut, Ballads of the Flexible Bullet had its Chuck Taylors in an unfocused and uneconomical bear trap; individually, the songs were great, but collectively, they took the Chevy Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for a lengthy joy ride. The Floor finds the band climbing out of the pitfalls dug by the aforementioned debut and stabilizing their sound -- a sound that nearly forgets hardcore for enormous choruses and rich, layered harmonies.

With dueling, arpeggiated acoustic and clean guitars, and thoughtful, apocalyptic lyrics, the 50-second "First Thing That Comes to Mind" introduces the EP quietly before segueing into the drop D riffing of "Less Van Damme More Darby Crash." The anti-straight-edge anthem is fast, but the nod is directed more at straight-up, melodic punk than hardcore; unlike Ballads of the Flexible Bullet, Wauz recognizes his niche in snotty, dynamic singing -- so, no, there is no screaming. And while the lyrics aren't exactly Vonnegut, the execution oozes conviction. Oh, and those backup vocals? I really didn't want to use "enormous" twice in one review, but they're enormous (wait, that's three...); imagine, if you will, The Art of Drowning's "whoa-oh"s cranked to 11 -- just listen to "I Am Nero You Are Rome."

Yes, the cover is familiar; revamped with various books, hardcore memorabilia and knick-knacks, Red Tape Parade still includes the eye-catching lay, sunglasses and Coke bottle (to name a few). If the Dag Nasty love wasn't enough, The Floor includes guest spots by Peter Cortner on "Coffein" and the pseudonym "Dale Nixon" on bass.

As cool as it is to have Cortner on there, his voice isn't as substantial as Wauz and the shift feels pretty awkward the first time around. Also, the band has acquired a new guitarist since Ballads, and it's a bit disappointing that they're seemingly sacrificing technicality for melody.

Despite all of that, the score's for refining a sound, enticing the listener to sing along, and great playability. If a followup is somewhere in the future, I'm surely paying attention.