Thirsty! - Still Alive [10-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Still Alive [10-inch] (2010)

Old Souls Collective / Apocalypse Delivery

Thirsty! is literally the lineup of local Brooklyn melodic hardcore/punk act Stay Alive with a new vocalist (hence the cheeky title of this debut 10" EP). Although Stay Alive didn't get out much or record anything beyond a 7" or demo, it's hard to say that they're just rehashing their old sound musically, because this is a pretty musically diverse palette of hardcore/punk they're doing. But more often than not it's sort of a choppy, simplified and straightforward Lifetime-y type with hints of mid-era As Friends Rust and early Avail. However, the make or break here is the lead singer's vocals.

Where Stay Alive frontman Frank had a solid, never over-the-top gruff bark that led the charge, Brian Wallace's voice is weirdly poppier and higher-pitched. It makes for a contrast that oftentimes seems too sharp to work. The only way I could describe it is like a weirdly jarring mix of mid-'90s Ray Cappo and Fastbreak's Pat Rorick circa Whenever You're Ready--even though I never really get a CIV-ish pop-punk vibe from these tracks.

The songs themselves are certainly admirably scrappy and show some varied styles, versatile emotions and tempos, though. And Wallace's voice sometimes gels pretty alright, like with "Why All My Kids Have Asthma," where his earnest delivery seems to match the more downtuned moods better. He manages to find some aggression pushing his voice in the hardcore-heavy "White Knuckled Holiday" too, but then things get questionable again in the vaguely H2O GO-esque "Guarded Condition," at least until he shows some thoughtful restraint with the closing part. Hell, in "Lock the Door," his shout almost makes the song like a diet Snapcase--which, frankly, ain't bad.

Overall, though, this EP reminds me of how KidBrotherCollective could write some of the most gripping songs modeled after '90s emo and then ruin it with AutoTuned, overly whiny vocals. I mean, Wallace isn't doing anything that frustrating here, but it doesn't always mesh well with what his band plays, and that much makes for the partial downfall of Still Alive. But the of handful of successful moments promise better things for sure if they decide to go those particular routes.

Still Alive EP

Blue in the Face
Faithless & Fearless
White Knuckled Holidays