Starting off their disc with “Alchemy”, Lock and Key come forth with the energy that begat their first CD on Deep Elm, “No Fate”. The fuzziness that ends this track just adds a dark feeling to the opening of the follow-up track, “Process of Molting”. One thing that must be said about Lock and Key is that they are virtuosos with each facet of their being – whether it is the emotive drums of Keith, the omnipresent bass lines of Josh, or the guitar and vocals of both Ryan and Mike, you know they will be at the top of their game during every second of their disc. The first time we actually hear the magnificent-ness of the dual vocal assault of Ryan and Mike comes on “303”, a track where Lock and Key’s influences come into play heavily: hints of Against Me, Strike Anywhere, and Rise Against are all to be found on this track. Lock and Key is an act that actually knows how to both wind down and crack up their general sound without either losing their audience or promoting a chaotic meandering that detracts from the disc.
Early in the disc, a track stands above all others. “Ammonia” has the perfect interplay of the dual-vocal assault and immensely intense drums to propel this disc to the next level. The plodding nature of “Ammonia” would be dangerous territory for less-talented bands to tread, but Lock and Key has the skills and oversight to allow for a truly great track. While the intensity of the first half of the disc cools off a little during the more introspective second half of “Pull Up The Floorboards”, the overall feeling here is one of dynamism, instead of covering the same ground nine times. Coming back into musical strength during “Cover the Tracks”, Lock and Key show that they can create music that is timeless and emotionally affective, talking about matters that will never diminish in importance.
Lock and Key has shown that, unlike a number of their contemporaries, they are completely able of doing an entire disc that has the emotional and musical appeal that their first EP had. The disc is equally strong throughout, even in the nether regions of typical-crap. Their late-disc track “Beneath the Surface” does a quick one-two punch, combining two of Lock and Key’s strongest suits: their dual-vocal assaults, and a well-arranged guitar solo that is bombastic without being overbearing.
Top Tracks: Process of Molting, Beneath the Surface.
Lock and Key – Pull Up The Floorboards / 2004 Deep Elm / 10 Tracks / http://www.lockandkeyrock.com / http://www.deepelm.com / Reviewed 24 December 2004