Rust Belt Lights - These Are the Good Old Days (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Rust Belt Lights

These Are the Good Old Days (2010)

Paper + Plastick

Do you remember the Movielife? Mildly popular melodic hardcore from Long Island who, over a six-year period, released some great records and toured a lot before calling it a day, possibly due to the fact that they weren't really "making it" as they might have felt--as I do--they deserved? Well, I am convinced that the Movielife are back, but now they're plying their trade under the name Rust Belt Lights and it appears they've recorded an album that would fit firmly in between This Time Next Year and Forty Hour Train Back to Penn [...ignoring Has a Gambling Problem, I suppose - Ed.].

Does that sound like I'm having a dig at Rust Belt Lights, a five-piece (just like the Movielife!) from Buffalo, N.Y. (New York, just like...!)? Well, I'm not. This album of a dozen songs provides a consistent journey from start to finish, featuring tunes with good vocals (both individual and group), a really strong guitar song and a rhythm section that provides an unwavering backbone to the aforementioned elements.

The journey is bouncy and upbeat (again, not a bad thing if done with some balls, which Rust Belt Lights manage to do), with the pace rarely dropping and only where it's required to do so. Lyrical content is fairly positive, although there are questions raised about the status of "home"--sometimes a good thing and other times the exact opposite. The final song, "The Good Old Days" is clearly a call to arms to all of us to not just look back at the good times we've had, but to realise that we can keep creating such memories by attempting to enjoy what we are doing now as well, thus creating more good old days.

It's hard to pick standout songs here as it really is a uniform collection of work, but the fourth track, "Fortyfive," which was also on their self-titled digital single released earlier in the year, is one that seems more familiar and sticks in my mind as I continually play the album. Maybe it's due to having heard it before, but it's a striking song all the same.

The whole "sound like the Movielife" thing should not be a burden and, in fact, should be used as an encouraging comment and to provide some insight into what you will hear if you purchase this album. This is one of the best albums I've got this year and it's highly unlikely that I will tire of it any time soon.