Published Jul 19, 2010It's a slippery slope when a band try to reinvent themselves within the confines of punk and hardcore. The fans can be rabidly loyal, but message board haters and fierce obscure-ists are quick to turn on a band if their sound diverts too much from the record they fell in love with. From start to finish, it's clear that Connecticut natives Hostage Calm didn't hesitate to experiment on their new self-titled full-length. A deliberate diversion, Hostage Calm opts for tambourines, bountiful hooks and shimmering, pristine guitar tones rather than the Dag Nasty-inspired, ruthless energy featured on 2008's Lens. This time around, the band put their entire record collection on display, showcasing Brian Wilson-esque harmonies and a fair share of Morrissey vocal moments. Deliberate reinvention allows the band to tread new water, giving way to refreshing songs like "Ballots/Stones," an obvious tribute to the Clash's ubiquitous Latin tendencies. Despite experimentation within their genre, Hostage Calm still carries the defining qualities that any fan of Lens can appreciate. It's an earnest, smart and innovative offering, and it places Hostage Calm at the forefront of punk music in 2010.
Were you ever conscious about what fans of Lens and your demo would think of the new stuff?
Vocalist Chris Martin: We definitely never hesitated. For us, it just felt natural. It feels more unnatural trying to replicate something that you feel you completed and have put behind you. We didn't want to have to answer or nod to any genre. We just said, "let's have no barriers and make our favourite record."
Was the potential to write a pop-driven record always a possibility? If you met the 2007-era Hostage Calm in a Back to the Future-esque scenario and you played them the new record would they pass out from shock or would they future mosh?
I think they would definitely future mosh. The artists, sounds and approaches that influenced this release are things we had been into, in some cases, years before the earlier releases. We were just more interested in making a fast punk/hardcore record at the time of the demo or Lens.
Finish the following sentences: "The best thing about playing in a band in the punk community in 2010 is..."
People that subscribe to punk ethics and support each other.
"The best guitar tone I have ever heard is ..."
Johnny Marr all over Strangeways, Here We Come. The electric guitars have a perfectly jangly tone and all of the acoustic guitar tracks that back it up are spot-on. Highs, reverb, light chorus ― heaven. (Run For Cover)