Front of Resistance - Reclaim Your Mind (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Front of Resistance

Reclaim Your Mind (2009)


Front of Resistance grew out of an acoustic solo project for one Ron O'Brien before it blossomed into a full band. The theme O'Brien instills in this full-length, Reclaim Your Mind, is well-thought out and apparent directly in the title: recognizing external influences and stepping back to realize the things that makes one one's own. It's a touchstone idea of punk, while musically the band delve into more of a buoyant, overly precious pop-punk/quasi folk punk hybrid of sorts that takes full advantage of medium tempos, earnest vocals, clunky piano parts and acoustic guitars to fill out the sound. Something about it's actually sort-of well-done, but the ambrosial flair can be grating, and the fact that O'Brien can't express his ideas more concisely than in a 47-minute running time doesn't help at all. This style just doesn't lend well to epic lengths.

Opener "Help Me Fly" and, later, "Dependency's a Bitch" integrate a "breakdown" of sorts like their pop-punk-cum-hardcore counterparts might wield--it's a little cheesy, and perhaps unnecessary. O'Brien's short diatribe on drug use opening "Express Your Hate" goes as follows: "I don't really hate drugs / I just hate when people do them a lot." No one's asking for the most articulate elegance in a style like this, but you feel as though O'Brien is smarter than to sing lines so direct and straightforwardly. Sometimes conversational styles work well for a band, but not in FOR's case.

There's a lot of female vocals used here and it mixes things up well, though, adding a vibe that's not far from the likes of, say, Mixtapes, but in more youthful and questionable form. It makes the heavier balladry of "Don't Think Too Much" and "Quanah" more tolerable, but I don't see either making the emotional impact they might be striving for on someone; the latter does get hymnal in a demanding way toward its finish and it's one of the album's more ambitious and successful moments as a result. Aubrey Franklin, the girl at hand, also helps add the album's most memorable melodies to the title track; it's likely the hookiest track here.

The strong thematic points and cohesiveness is something O'Brien clearly has a handle on, but the music he and others convey it through just really isn't all that enticing. By the time this album lumbers toward its final and 13th track, it just hasn't rewarded the listener much.

Express Your Hate
Maybe Someday
Outside Point of View
Don't Think Too Much
Reclaim Your Mind