Luther's "The Door Is A Penthouse"
- Black Numbers
Black Numbers' four-way split acts as a primer in underappreciated melodic punk, and it spans from long-running veterans Grey Area to newcomers Luther. Each get a pair of songs to make their mark.
Grey Area's recent split with Go Rydell provided hungry fans an idea of what the band would sound like after a decade removed from the recording room. Their new tracks fit right alongside that, with the band playing fast, driving melodic punk with solid tempo changes and Ernie Parada's upper-register shout. "Lucky" has a catchy closing hook, but the brief flashes of fresh urgency in "Bad Anything" are Grey Area's main highlight.
Fellow New York City act the Reveling follow with the blink-and-you'll-miss-it "Trust Me" and the longer "It's Time To Ride." While you could easily tie the sound of their last full-length to Green Day and their earlier stuff to the Gaslight Anthem, the band seem to possess a little stronger of an identity now. The gritted-teeth strain of "It's Time To Ride" and its playful, head-bobbing riffs make it the better standout.
Bash-and-go pop-punks the Copyrights cough up the fussier, speedy "The New Frontier," buzzsaw guitar and all, before opting for a Scared Of Chaka cover (“Straight To The Office”) for their second contribution. Even on this cover, fans probably know what they're getting as the band put their familiar stamp on the late-'90s garage-punk staple.
Compared to the other three participants, Luther are downright easy-going band on this split. "Sixty-One" and "The Door Is A Penthouse" are upbeat, chugging slabs of mid-tempo rock with the coyest hint of twang, like Cheap Girls with less Counting Crows and more Get Up Kids. The latter track has a great opening guitar tone and, later, some shouting, layered vocals that gives it a unique urgency without overpowering anything, building to a great little finish.
While this split feels forgettable and by-the-numbers at times, there's a nice, subtle array of variety here, considering all four bands could ostensibly be called "punk."