Grey Area/Go Rydell

Split EP

Are Grey Area just consistently humble, or perpetual underdogs? Either way, the dark horse of ’90s melodic punk/hardcore return with their first batch of new material in more than a decade, but they're sharing the spotlight with newcomers Go Rydell in the process. Considering how much the two bands complement each other's styles, though, it's hard to argue such a pairing.

Grey Area's “No Guarantees” pounds out a hard-nosed lead riff, mixing in jubilant melodies à la Ignite and the Bouncing Souls as vocalist/guitarist Ernie Parada belts out the hook “under the darkness of my blanket.” Its breakdown even mirrors that of Strike Anywhere's “Chorus Of One,” but that's probably just some sort of full-circle thing. The slightly longer “Bliss” treads a similar path from punky melancholy to bright optimism and back again. It's hard not to pin the band's sound to a decade well past, but Grey Area come off as sprightly and sincere as they ever have.

Go Rydell have one more track than Grey Area, but take two minutes less to plow through their side. One of the best moments that comes from the Kid Dynamite and Lifetime fanboys is the playful mosh part halfway through the Fred Phelps flip-off “Not Cool, McCool,” but the overall best track is the more thought-out “Battery Park,” which is more than double the length of either of their other two contributions. These songs are poppier and more trebly than their 2010 full-length, The Golden Age, and while the recording almost sounds too sterile at times, the cleaner, more melodic approach largely works in their favor.

Black Numbers

Go Rydell’s “Battery Park”