I’ve never liked Rise Against as much as many of my friends, but these five cuts off of “Siren Song of the Counter-Culture” has fast become some of the most-played tracks on my radio show. “Paper Wings” has the perfect mix of scratchy vocals and smoothed-out yet break-neck guitar lines. The tightness of the band is also a key factor into the massive enjoyment I’ve taken from this disc, whether it be the numerous time changes or the cohesive sound that Rise Against puts out with each and every songs. Tim’s vocals provide a nice parallel to the guitar, and “Life Less Frightening” starts out as compelling as “Paper Wings”, but showing Joe’s bass slightly more than in the previous offering. Mixing together a dual-harmony as well as a bass/drum interplay in the aforementioned track, Tim’s voice is yet again the key agent of speeding up the tempo of the rest of the band. The intense breakdown found on “Life Less Frightening”, with the blooding bulk of the band leading into a much harder post-hardcore sound than a track like “Paper Wings” would indicate.
With the hump of this EP being “Anywhere But Here”, a track the perfectly meshes the best parts of the previous two tracks, everyone can find something to latch onto in this track, whether it be the bass-drumming of Brandon or the bass of Joe. Brutally attacking the audience with the opening of “Give It All”, Rise Against drops the intense guitars at the most opportune times, and further pushes the envelope with the final track, “Dancing For Rain”. Drawing out the more primal feelings of the listeners, Brandon’s drums provide a rhythm that is not found anywhere else on this syncopated disc.
While obviously this disc is not the full “Siren Song of The Counter-Culture”, Geffen has done well in picking tracks that show all the facets of Rise Against’s incredibly diverse sound. Creating a lush recording without sapping all the soul from the band always provides a large challenge, but the band has the ear after releasing two albums that they have achieved near perfection with these five cuts. While there was continually lacking in both “The Unraveling” and “RPM”, Siren Song of the Counter-Culture shows the coalescence of all the different currents found in the band into one polemic discussion for why Rise Against is the future of punk.
Top Track: Paper Wings
Rise Against – Siren Song of the Counter-Culture EP
Rise Against – Siren Song of the Counter-Culture EP / 2004 Geffen / 5 Tracks / http://www.riseagainst.com / http://www.geffen.com / Reviewed 11 October 2004