Straitjacket is the closest thing that I’ve ever heard to the UK ’82 brand of oi! that has been recreated successfully in the US with only one band previously: Patriot. Straitjacket feels as if they were pulled through a time rift and forced to play in Oregon for the entirety of their career (which is running on 7 years right now). The tinny yet impressive guitars and bouncy beat is present in tracks like “A New Disaster” just as it was in the Angelic Upstarts’ “2,000,000 Voices”. The slight bit of snottiness present in the lead vocals of Brian is reminiscent of Justin Sane albeit much less whiny than the latter. Just like Funeral Dress, the same bounciness permeates the entirety of “Modern Thieves”, and these tracks are crafted with a care that does not just simply tie the songs together purely through their general sound. Rather, Straitjacket puts this quality to good use create a track in “Tunnel Vision” that is easily the equivalent to any of the other tracks on this disc.
The virtuosic guitar present on “Don’t Know Why” really takes the focus away from Brian’s vocals to make for a more-instrumental track. Different band members really get their times to shine at different parts of the CD, all while the rest of the band lays with the same fury and intensity that has marked every track up that point on the disc. For example, while there are some catchy guitar riffs on “Crusades”, the rack is unmistakably Jeff’s (bass), where the bass provides nearly all of the low-end, while the drums’ only duty on this track seems to be providing the higher end.
It is perhaps “The Call” that showcases the band at their creative and cohesive crest; the band bashes through one of the most memorable and catchy tracks cut this year where the guitar/vocal dichotomy on the track reaches a fever pitch during the chorus. “The Call” may be a money shot, but there is much more on “Modern Thieves” to come as evidenced by “Tuned Out”, which actually pits the lead vocals against the lead guitars for dominance, made even more visible considering that they were so in sync just a few minutes ago. “Modern Thieves” looks back to the halcyon days of UK 82 oi! while still keeping a current sound. Straitjacket has been around for 7 years and it shows here.
Top Tracks: Blank, The Call