Go-Kart Records – Release Date: 5/31/11
Recorded with Mark Michalik at Drasik Studios, (The Swellers, Much The Same, Fireworks, We Are The Union) Dying to Exonerate the World, the second effort from Chicago’s Counterpunch, is a straight-up, in-your-face affair, a no-holds-barred punk rock barrage that while more than slightly indebted to Bad Religion, still delivers with a flavor and style all its own. The disc kicks off with “Heroes and Ghosts,” an awesome, up-tempo, melodic anthem replete with chugging, chunky guitar tones and nicely harmonized vocals, and continues with the assault into the second track, “High Tide for Internal Strife,” which adds a number of interesting breakdowns to the mix. I didn’t get a lyric sheet, but from what I can gather the lyrics are for most part in the ‘personal’ vein, dealing with everyday problems: relationships, working, family, the music scene, with a strong undercurrent of concern for social issues. With track four, Counterpunch decides to mix it up. “And Everybody’s Right (Asshole)” goes for a more swinging, Fall Out Boy-type vibe, adding a horn section to mid-tempo guitars and the ever-present catchy vocal melodies. Overall, Dying to Exonerate the World would, in my opinion, please most fans of melodic punk. It’s a poppy, slightly glossy affair, but with enough grit, bite, speed and most importantly, songwriting ability, to win over even those skeptical of this subgenre of music. Check it out for yourself here.
- Marc Ruvolo