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8 out of 10
I never thought I’d find myself saying this, but Esprit de Corps (from Denver, Colorado despite the rather French sounding name) sound a lot like a cross between The Day the Sun Went Out era Boysetsfire and The Get Up Kids, and it actually works really well. Essentially they are a DIY hardcore punk band that just happens to have an ear for a really catchy tune and, er, a keytar. Or gitboard. Either way the keys are not intrusive as is often the case with "novelty" instruments and in fact sit quite low in the mix, helping to bolster some of the catchier riffs in places. They’re not omnipresent either, which is nice.
At the heart of this record is hardcore punk rock and it beats pure and true through every track. If you like bands like Small Brown Bike, Planes Mistaken for Stars, Small Arms Dealer, Polar Bear Club or Only Thunder then you’ll be in good company here. If you like the idea of a gravelly voiced man screaming "we’re fucked and this ship’s going down" over distorted buzzsaw guitars and pounding rhythms then you really ought to track this down.
1. Mild Herb
2. Black Gold
3. On Conquering
4. Way Too Rowdy
5. Forget the Titanic, We Sink Faster