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riot.jpgThe Riot Before
Fists Buried in Pockets
Say/Ten Records

The Riot Before doesn’t let down, and they don’t astonish. Fists Buried in Pockets is another energetic fundamental folk-punk album, steadily sticking to that original folk-punk sound. The “folk” branch of punk rock is now too heavy to just exist as a branch – it’s got its own tree with roots in Plan-it-X Records, who released the first Against Me record. While others surely helped in creating “folk-punk,” Against Me swooned millions nearly 10 years ago, recruiting various punk fans to come together and realize folk could be cool. Today it’s hard to pinpoint just what each of those folk-punker recruits are doing, but I wouldn’t believe The Riot Before if they denied Against Me as an influence. Since the late 1990s, that folk sound has spread like swine flu and has evolved, but The Riot Before keeps it OG- simple, raw, energetic, and emotional. In fact, their latest release is packed with more emotion than the previous Horseshoes and Hand Grenades. The first title-track sets the tone with a short ballad before popping into that quick-paced folk-punk sound we’ve come to expect. The album is half made up of these ballads, allowing breaks between the quick tempo anger-filled-yet-foot-tapping tunes.

The dynamic sound can surely attract punk fans from across the board. While it doesn’t quite make for moshing, it definitely inspires stomping and fist pumping. Subject matter mostly sticks to politics aside from the occasional self-pitiful heartaches, see “I Have my Books,” where vocalist Bret is either belligerently drunk or trying to give off that impression.

While you might be hard-pressed to pick a favorite of the two full lengths because they’re very similar in style, there’s no doubtFists Buried in Pockets presents a more mature sound.

–Stephanie Thornton