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Posted on January 3rd, 2013 (8:00 am) by Ben Welton

At some point in the mid-eighties, hardcore punk rock decided to sit down and look inward. To many then and now, such and inward nature is contrary to the collectivist spirit of rebellion punk rock espouses. To such souls, punk rock (and all of its wayward children) should still be shouting "anarchy!" and belittling "The Man" at every opportunity. Such things served their purposes, and indeed still serve a purpose today. Frankly, bands such as Rites of Spring, Fugazi, Nation of Ulysses, and Texas is the Reason have shown introspective punk rock is not only capable of existing, but it also has the ability to make some fine records.

Adventures, a band from Pittsburgh formed in early 2012, is another addition to the emotional punk rock sibling-hood. Adventures share members with Code Orange Kids, a much more violent and devastating act signed to Jacob Bannon's Deathwish Inc. Such a reality may seem a tad bit confusing at first, but emotional punk rock (when it's done right) has the same type of vitality as the most brutal death metal; it just replaces sonic heaviness with lyrical and conceptual heaviness. Adventures seems to be such a band, and their newest EP, Adventures, has its fair share of emotional dissonance and fuzzy guitars. In four songs (all of which are under four minutes), Adventures make a fulfilling release containing more protein and fiber than much of the popular empty calories sold across the FM airwaves. The whole of Adventures seems to be a love letter to the art of suffering, with fear, rejection, awkwardness, and those nasty, unclassified feelings making up the backbone of this all-too brief release.

The EP's first track, "I Feel So Sure," combines the jangling overdrive of Texas is the Reason with the type of intellectual capacity characterizing much of the catalog of Pretty Girls Make Graves. The similarities between Reba Meyers, the main vocalist for both Adventures and Code Orange Kids, and Andrea Zollo, the songbird for Pretty Girls Make Graves, are undeniable, and such comparisons generally situate Adventures within emotional hardcore's better history and traditions. "I Feel So Sure" marks the signature sound of Adventures, which oscillates between unleashed fury and mournful wailing alongside driving drums and the type of meat-and-potatoes guitar sound that launched a thousand garage rock bands.

After "I Feel So Sure," "Walking" delivers a more nuanced and mature approach still managing to build towards a rocking center. "Walking" sounds like the perfect representation of a recently dumped partner walking away from a hideous yet beautiful disaster. In many ways, the whole of Adventures sounds like the soundtrack to someone's mid-twenties, what with all its ups and downs, bad relationships, and self-loathing debauches. Yet there is another, far more buried quality to Adventures. On the one hand, Pittsburgh is a character in this EP in the same way as Los Angeles is a character in Ask the Dust. Once a blue-collar city, Pittsburgh is now a city with a jagged reality - it still has a blue-collar mentality and culture, yet it is populated by college kids, office workers, health professionals, and other members of America's unique intelligentsia. Such distortions play out on Adventures: a twenty-first century heartland rock record posing as a neurotic punk rock release.

In much the same way as Title Fight's Floral Green, Adventures gets at the heart of what it means to be young and emotionally misplaced in the Mid-Atlantic, a part of the country with an unstable identity. With a longer format, Adventures may prove themselves a capable and sustainable act. As it stands now, the only thing holding back Adventures is its paucity of sound.

Track List:
1. I Feel So Sure
2. Walking
3. Like Seed
4. Reach Out to You

Adventures' "Adventures EP"
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

79 / 100
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