The Effort

Wartime Citizens

The Effort are a fine product of the modern hardcore era. The Massachusetts act score their sophomore full-length, Wartime Citizens, with a melodic but scorching, often midtempo burn and passionate left-wing political stance not unlike Verse's Aggression. While they haven't had as much time to refine themselves into such a precise, towering musical powerhouse as Verse did by that album's release, Wartime Citizens nonetheless traverses a fairly thorough songwriting path with plenty of sharp edges and subtle dynamics for all its ruggedness. "Our Burdens (Lost In The Continental Constellation)" slows down the rough-hewn power-chord romping for a raw, mid-song guitar-strum sing-along, while "Digital Snow (Analog Sirens)" builds some sorely uncomfortable tension with frontman Tony Auger's tortured, raspy voice over both acoustic and moaning electric guitar tracks. "Dear Sarah," a chilling indictment of a former vice presidential candidate who can see Russia from her house, finds guitars climbing, aching and wailing as Auger completely loses any of his remaining composure in a fit of rage by the time sound clips of crowds cheering to common Palin rhetoric enter the fold (even though the line "they want a president with a good shot while holding a beer" indicates Auger, too, might have fallen for a cheap Photoshop job). Auger's sharp scream doesn't always bear the versatility it seems to be capable of, but even so it's an appropriately caustic, cutting front for the emotional catharsis he seems to experience from so much political tumult.

Panic http://www.panicrecords.net

“Dear Sarah,”