The Keep Aways – S/T EP (CD)

From the bands they’ve played with (Dillinger Four, Oneida), one would never expect The Keep Aways to kick so much ass. Still, here they are playing a brash brand of punk that draws equally from different times and movements in a fresh way. The snotty vocals of Mindy look towards other female-led punk bands like The Avengers and more current acts like Retching Red, and the quick start-stop of the guitars during tracks like “Conversational Crime” really ratchet up the emotional intensity of the track. This is not the polished punk rock of Rancid or Green Day, but that’s not to say that a hint of Matt Freeman cannot be found amongst the swath of destruction that the guitar leaves on this disc. “Hey Song” begins chaotic as all get out but The Keep Aways fuel this track with a simplistic yet impressive riff progression. The recording on this disc is a little flat but does not press the music on this EP in the way that monetary limitations have compressed punk bands up to this point (just listen to early Germs stuff and one will see what is meant).

Later tracks like “Saturday” take up the mantle of thrash-punk previously held by D.R.I. and Verbal Abuse, while “Same Difference” is an odd amalgam of the intricate bass-work and tone of The Clash with the grit of a Johnny Rotten. The shuffling beat of this track makes this typical punk track into something that innovative DJs could put on for their teen nights; all they would have to worry about are the circle pits that will be present during the breakdowns. There is a division in “Same Difference” that needs to be described: while the first have is the typical bold, metal-infused punk that is common on this disc, the second half really has a plodding, thought-out quality to it that is not expounded on much during the EP.

The Keep Aways can feel as comfortable playing with goth-punk hybrid acts like 45 Grave just as they would with crust bands like Caustic Christ just due to two key facts. First off, they are cognizant enough to make solidly played yet catchy tracks and they never let one style or one band dominate their outlook, even for the shortest of times. The Keep Aways have came up with a disc that is incredibly strong for a band that has only been around for a couple years.

Top Tracks: Bleeding Heart

Rating: 7.7/10

The Keep Aways – S/T EP / 2005 Chairkickers’ Union / 7 Tracks / / / Reviewed 20 April 2005

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