Artist: Collective Action
Title: Don’t Go It Alone
Release: Tape / Digital
Label: Force of Reckoning Records
Don’t Go It Alone is the brand new EP from Roanoke, Virginia’s Collective Action. Combining the influences of youth crew, classic California punk rock, and modern hardcore, the band’s initial offering is a treat for listeners with an inclination for fast hardcore. The EP contains five tracks of positive lyrics and empowering riffs that sound familiar, yet contemporary.
Track 1 “Collective Action” acts as the band’s mission statement. This song is simply a call to unite against the impenetrable forces which would otherwise have us be divided. A powerful intro and two-step into breakdown outro—this song sets the tone for what to expect on the release. Followed by “Beneath the Surface,” a manifesto for individuality. Anchored by a repeated Dead Kennedys–style melody and a straight ahead youth crew scissor beat, the two main musical themes in this song juxtapose each other in a way that is unexpected, yet complimentary. Why conform to traditional songwriting structure in a song about staying true to yourself?
“Draw Your Lines” keeps the record moving with a straight ahead force coupled with an empathetic lyrical backdrop. While an overly simplistic youth crew song can be plagued by one-dimensional and overly simplistic tropes, this avoids those stereotypes by truly breaking the fourth wall and speaks directly to the struggle of anyone listening in a way that feels supportive and genuine. The slowed down outro is a nice touch to round out the track.
The EP reaches its pinnacle with the song “Generations”. This is one of those “now or never” hardcore tracks that really seethes through with an injection of urgency. Whether the lyrics are speaking to everyday society or the current state of hardcore, the call to create something new and leave things in the past cannot be ignored. With an ending breakdown akin to the likes of Judge, this song creates a nice balance of angry hardcore and upbeat punk rock. The record closes out with a cover of 1980s Orange County hardcore staples, Uniform Choice. What a memorable way to end their first release!
Overall, this record sets out exactly what it claims to accomplish in the lyrics. They sit with the struggle of the listener instead of ignoring it with platitudes. It’s a nice change of pace from most positive hardcore lyrics deeply rooted in bootstrapper mentality. Musically, the band seems to be pulling from a variety of influences that show that they’re still figuring out their sound, but this shows promise and the opportunity for further growth with future releases.
Pick up the tape from Force of Reckoning Records.