Various - 4-way Split [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


4-way Split [7 inch] (2009)

Suburban Home

Vinyl has seen a resurgence in recent years that has had a mixed impact on music fans. Many are excited about releases being put out on vinyl for the first time, the medium being used to expand art and basically about having big old pieces of wax. However, an equal number are frustrated with albums being delayed due to pressing plants being overrun, the apparent quick cash-in of reissues (and reissuing the same album 100 times) and 7" records costing up to $12 for a single song which is just a remix of an album track. While you can never please everyone, Suburban Home has made a valiant attempt with this four-way split featuring new music from In the Red, Anchor Down, Bastards of Young and Drunken Boat.

The split opens with In the Red's thumping, mid-tempo "Here We Will All Die." The track features classic Mike Hale gruff vocals. The melody seems to spend each verse climbing up like an old wooden rollercoaster and every chorus putting that potential energy into use by crashing down in half the time. It's the sort of song that could accompany nights alone or drunken revelry with friends, depending on the mood.

Following up is Portland's own Anchor Down with "All Perfume," a track that may (for better or worse) draw some Gaslight Anthem comparisons, more for its romantic lyrics than anything else. The vocals come across cleaner than on the band's debut, Steel to Dust, fitting the track's slower and more melodic tone. As the track reaches its conclusion, Anchor Down tape into their biggest strength: the ability to write great, fist-pumping sing-along lines, making the track stick in your head after it's done.

The flipside is kicked off with Bastards of Young's "Earthquake Weather." The song swings somewhere between street punk anthems and more melodic Midwestern punk. As it goes on, the track definitely has a more rock 'n' roll vibe than the first half of the split, even breaking out in full-on piano and harmonica solos (respectively).

Closing out the album is Drunken Boats with "Hell Freezes Over." The track is the best choice of the four for a closer. With its slow melody and bluesy sound, the track is the embodiment of the winding down of a night at the bar. The dual male/female vocals as the track closes out are a perfect way to slip out of the evening.

It's impossible to please all the people all the time (that's what some old president said [maybe it was fool, I'm not a historian]) but with a 7" that contains four new songs, by four awesome bands, includes a digital download and costs only $5, it's hard to imagine anyone not liking this. Of course, with literally eight different vinyl/cover variations, I'm sure someone will complain. So, while this 7" may not unify the world (or even the punk community), maybe it will make some people pretty stoked.