Landmines - Commerce and Marx
Record Label: Paper + Plastick
Release Date: July 5, 2011
An album carrying the title Commerce and Marx seems it wouldn't be complete without a manifesto booklet, a rebel's toolkit, and a dictionary of political jargon. Its lyrics may represent a bandana twisted about the shoulder, and the listener is left to put them into action. The precursory Hell Is What You Make It EP was the centrifugal force that ejected the full-length Commerce and Marx into full throttle like a javelin--- in grassroots diy fashion. So if it wasn't predictable already, this punk rock quintet has holed up in a space for the more digitally weary: Paper + Plastick Records.
Commerce and Marx works like a wrench to the nuts and bolts of the HIWYMI EP, tightening up pleasingly thick harmonies, punchier basslines, and political rage all siphoned through a clear production molotov. The EP surrounded us into semi-limbo territory regarding how to make the most of a hellish world. And thus, cut-to-the-chase opener "Hell Is What You Make It" is an instructional piece of "life is too short, we don't got the time" and the importance of fortified kinship, as we perservere together "flesh and bone". A hummable melodious lead from guitarist Nick Bergheimer keeps us awake throughout the track in its mission for our undivided attention. Revolution paced "Hookerpiss" contains a more powerful boost this time around. The call-and-response camaraderie between head vocalist Paul Picillo and his fellow musicians are bullhorns to the rally.
Coincidentally titled "Fair-Weather Friend", the heart-racing track teeters on an edgy old school punk sound ala H2O, where Picillo could easily be mistaken for wise up and rise up inspiration Toby Morse. The soaring chorus of "Three Little Pigs" follows that call-out morality, begging for repetition with the desperation tinged lines: "Is there anybody out there? Does anybody care?" against mid-tempo rock. Near the end, "Before We Fade" self-identifies as one of few boundary defiant compositions in Landmines' catalog. Snippets of metal and spazzy riffs turn the closing line "as the old ones rot, the young ones carry on" into sparks of hope.
A few bland writing choices could land Commerce and Marx on the forgettable horizon. But it doesn't matter if you're an anarcho or socialist-whatchamakalit. By virtue of Landmines tossing pissed off youth, the Marx name, and earthquaking rhythms into the blender, they're putting a dent in the archives.