The Class of 98 – Touch This And Die (CD)

The style of music that The Class of 98 is not stuck in the brand “emo” category that seems to fit a wide array of bands well, but rather the music on tracks like “Everywhere You Go” are transcendent of little-meaning genre tags. Rather, the sedate fuzz of The Class of 98 is rock without all of the posturing and bull that has really demarcated emo from rock in the last few years. There is a more than average amount of distortion present on tracks like “Hannah You’re Beautiful”, but this is just a part of the track instead of a white-out for any mistakes that The Class of 98 have made in the track.

This makes for a much more rich-sounding track, where there are not the gaping holes of more traditional folk acts or the overbearing distortion of punk bands that know that they do not have the talent to let their arrangements shine. Instead of attacking listeners with super-sonic guitars and speedy arrangements, The Class of 98 come forth with a nuanced sound that elicits emotion and thought insteast of impotent rage. The curve needed to properly “get” The Class of 98 is slightly higher than the average rock band, but the payoffs associated with the band are much higher. Tracks go down like a smooth wine, and “What I’m Dying To Say” actually each the accessibility of acts like Ryan Cabrera. Even when there seems to be a slightly faster tempo, as is the case during “Anthem for Us”, there is still a consideration for all types of Class of 98 fans; with an instrumentation that has a drive not quite unlike all of the L.A. rock bands of the late nineties (think Lit), the soft vocals of Steve really sell the track to all ages, even the doe-eyed preteen audience.

After this album comes out, it would not be too out there to see more of The Class of 98; they have already been featured on mTV and on the (not because of their music) crapfest Smallville. While all of the tracks on “Touch This And Die” are destined for second lives on the radio, it is the late-disc track “Pretend I’m Okay” that solidifies the band’s victory on this disc. “Touch This and Die” is one of the reasons that 2006 seems to be a much better year for music than 2005; hopefully more bands can aspire to the same quality that The Class of 98 has through this disc.

Top Tracks: Pretend I’m Okay, Hannah You’re Beautiful

Rating: 6.3/10

The Class of 98 – Touch This And Die / 2005 The Militia Group / 12 Tracks / http://www.theclassof98.com / http://www.themilitiagroup.com / Reviewed 16 December 2005

[JMcQ]

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