Hostage Calm - Please Remain Calm
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Record Label: Run For Cover
Sorry. I can’t do it. I refuse to do it. I’ll declare it throughout my modestly sized apartment complex (okay, I really won’t do that). I just cannot not remain calm about Hostage Calm’s stunning new album.
Cheesy pun aside, you won’t find anything like Please Remain Calm, an album that may go down as a cult classic within the scene. And I use the term “scene” very loosely, as the band’s latest Run For Cover release cannot be pigeonholed into one specific genre. The throwback yet modern sound of the album was painstakingly created with the guidance of producer J. Robbins, whose rugged yet clean production helped create the album’s unique voice. Hostage Calm’s ambitious fusion of punk swagger with soothing pop melodies is dependent on Chris Martin’s voice, which Robbins delicately balances. The progression the Connecticut quintet has made over the years is dazzling, as it'd be hard for one to believe that this band started out as a hardcore act. Please Remain Calm's weaves intricate modern stories amongst a dazzling display of musicianship.
“On Both Eyes” opens the album with Martin’s sweet croon over a fast stop-and-go tempo provided by guitarists Nick Balzano and Tom Chiari, while “Don’t Die On Me Now” has the punk vibe from previous Hostage Calm releases. In fact, the first four tracks get Please Remain Calm off to a killer start. The bouncy “Brokenheartland” features an incredible bridge (bassist Tim Casey and drummer John Ross provide the song’s backbone), while the pop-punk leaning “Woke Up Next To A Body” unleashes an instantly memorable chorus (with Martin sharing vocal duties with Baby Grand’s Greg Moran).
It’s the middle of the album that the band starts expanding on its sound. You’ll clap and stomp along with the easy-going swing of “May Love Prevail” (the sleigh bells are a nice flourish), while “The M Word” tackles marriage over a nice blend of piano and strings. The near a cappella “Patriot” is the closest thing we’ll get to Beach Boys-esque pop now that Mike Love has kicked everyone out of the band. It’s the album’s biggest gamble and it pays off big time – it’s the standout track that takes Hostage Calm to the next level. Martin carries the tune, his voice crafting harmonies you have no problem losing yourself in. It’s an extraordinary song that’ll show up on many “Best Of” lists at the end of the year.
Please Remain Calm closes with the appropriately titled “One Last Salute,” a finale that spans over a multitude of different genres and tempos over a five and a half minute span. It goes from being a restrained pop song to flexing its punk rock muscle before closing with some Pinkerton-ish power riffs. It’s an accumulation of everything heard on Please Remain Calm crammed into one album-defining song.
Heartache, disappointment, and the struggle of growing up and fighting for your rights in today’s America are all captured on Please Remain Calm. It’s required listening for anyone is current going through this or has gone through it, for this is an album about perseverance and not giving up on yourself. It’s the most honest, genuine, and important record you'll hear all year. As stated earlier, there is nothing else like this out there – Please Remain Calm has a distinct voice that cannot be replicated. Only three records have knocked me on my ass this year - this is the fourth. Hostage Calm’s mixture of punk with 60’s pop and the new wave movement of the 80’s have crafted a near-masterpiece, making Please Remain Calm one of the absolute essential albums of 2012.
This really is brilliant, I hope people that couldn't get into the S/T give it a chance as while I absolutely love that record, I can see why others may not have been able to get into it, but this seems far more consistent and accessible.
Also, the new version of The "M" Word is stunning.