The Riot Before hail from Richmond but look and sound like a Gainesville band. Musically, I'd lump them in with American Steel and old Against Me!. There is a folk undertone, but the music is electric guitar-fueled punk rock with strong, emotive vocals.
The band quickly establishes their sound with the titular track "Fists Buried in Pockets," a minimalist song with vocalist Brett Adams growing angrier by each of its ninety-eight seconds. It seamlessly leads into the forward-moving, punk rock shaker "Threat Level Midnight." This introduction reminds me of "T.S.R." on Against Me!'s As the Eternal Cowboy in establishing the heavy and heartfelt tone, but not always at a running-in-circles pace. The lyrics are political but told in a personal fashion. Fists Buried in Pockets is a similar to the aforementioned Against Me! record in many ways. Most of the record is fast-paced punk that hints at folk without going acoustic.
Midway through, the band takes a breather from the punk rock for another mostly vocal track, "I Have My Books," which is just singer Adams plucking his guitar and building to a passionate scream/plead. The song works well to vary the album's tempo but it holds up better in a live setting than on record, as the quieter moments are more powerful in a room full of people than coming from a slab of petroleum. This song roughly marks a midway point, with the second half showing a poppier element on "Words Written Over Coffee" and "Numero Seven," even utilizing every punk's favorite chorus: a group "whoa-oh" in "They Rode on in the Friscalating Dusklight."
For being a punk band that doesn't always operate at full throttle, they do a good job of maintaining high energy levels, with the only real dragging moment being the 5:40 "Election Day," which kills the momentum and makes the last song, "Capillaries," feel like an afterthought.
I find the band more interesting when they keep things more to the point and chord-driven. In all, I'm impressed with the band look forward to hearing more. While their music isn't reinventing anything, it's authentic and provides heartfelt and energetic punk rock for their beardo fans.
8.0 / 10
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