Coming out of the gates with “Independence Game”, their emotionally charged breakdown-infested song, Lock and Key put seven tracks on “No Fate”, their first EP for Deep Elm. “2nd Quarter Broken”, previously released on “This Is How I Kill My Tears”, is the highlight on this disc, incorporating a driving beat with a catchy chorus to make the melody stick in the listener’s head. With “2nd Quarter Broken” ending too soon, Lock and Key goes into “Clusterfuck”, a multi-harmony track that doesn’t quite hit on all cylinders with its guitar lines missing at points. Even the guitar solo, long lauded as being that crucial point in the song where so much magic has been made, really is just par for the course. The momentary rut that Lock and Key found themselves in during “Clusterfuck” has been conquered by “Crutches”, mixing pop-punk guitar lines with the earthy guitars of earlier emo acts to create a plodding, intense experience that assaults one for the entire four minute runtime.
“Selective Memory” reaches out for the high standard of “2nd Quarter Broken”, and very nearly achieves it. Combining the plodding drums of “Crutches” with the no-looks-back intensity of “2nd Quarter”, “Selective Memory” uses a doubled vocals not unlike a Coheed and Cambria meets AFI combination created out of the deepest depths of hell. Actually tangling slightly with political beliefs, “Outsider” is the lyrical high where “2nd Quarter” is the musical high; the band has the intriguing belief that we all give up freedom for the security promised us by our government. When a song is only about 25 words long, to be able to push that much of a radical political agenda is a sign of a great song-writing team.
Lock and Key is a band that surprisingly, doesn’t immediately sound like anyone currently out in popular music. Their music, free from such an obvious taint, is able to march to its own beat, while still being very based in the popular music of the day. Even with the two tracks being put before the album was released on Deep Elm’s latest compilation, there are still a number of strong, exclusive tracks to be found on “No Fate”. When a band has so much going for it at such an early stage in their career, I personally wonder what else they can accomplish. I have complete faith in Lock and Key to go and create an LP that will capture the experimentation and success of this EP.
Top Track: 2nd Quarter Broken
Lock and Key – No Fate / 7 Tracks / 2004 Deep Elm Records / http://www.lockandkeyrock.com/ http://www.deepelm.com / Released 6 April 2004 / Reviewed 27 April 2004