Displaying an in-depth understanding of Silent Majority, Turning Point and Quicksand, Hostage Calm's wellreceived 2008 debut, Lens, was a comprehensive lesson in what punk and hardcore should sound like. Jagged-yetinfectious melodies effortlessly merged with beefy power chords and politically charged battle cries while fiery anthems formed amidst uncommon song structures.
With that creative momentum and the positive response from fans and critics alike, the band took a year to write and a year to record its Self-Titled follow-up for Boston's Run for Cover Records. It’s safe to say that the quintet's knack for composing intelligent, passionate tunes is matched only by that of its musical ambition. While Hostage Calm continues to hint at those Dag Nasty arpeggios and the skipping Descendents-esque beats, these new songs are pushed in unclassifiable directions, cradled by lush layers of jangling acoustic guitars, quick tambourine hits and resonating piano accompaniments.
Sonically, a good point of reference starts at The Smith’s The Queen Is Dead, with its blending of styles into one cohesive and all encompassing indie / pop album. Hostage Calm never compromises its energy, but touches lightly on everything from doo wop ( “Rebel Fatigues” ) and new wave ( “Ballots / Stones” ) to Latin ( “Wither On The Vine” ) and power pop ( “War On A Feeling” ). Vocalist Chris Martin’s suave melodies are chosen with the utmost care; they have a particularly relaxed quality that reveals a less excessive rendition of the 1980’s. And while he’s just about as political as ever, he doesn't hesitate to delve into more personal narratives, yet spares us of any cringe-worthy melodramatics.
Don't be intimidated - “pop” isn’t a four-letter word. In context with the substance-less drivel that excretes from the radio waves these days, it’s sometimes easy to forget. But Hostage Calm executes an infectious effort with actual lyrical and musical purpose. Truly a singular effort, there's a bit of something for every notch in the music-fan spectrum. Still, Hostage Calm never completely strays from the scene responsible for its inception. If you like music - regardless of genre - you should be paying attention.