For a first-time outing, Banner Pilot’s Resignation Day is a pretty remarkable accomplishment. This is simple, familiar punk rock – complete with hoarse vocals – more reminiscent of ‘90s Fat releases than anything the label’s been outputting of late, be that for better or for worse.
The album basks in its own simplicity, as the instrumentals provide a fast, bouncy backdrop for some basic but memorable guitar leads and vocal melodies. “Overwinter” features a familiar chord progression, though vocalist Nick Johnson manages to command attention with his howling – equal parts mad and melodic, like a snootier Blake what’s-his-name of Jawbreaker.
The band is at its best with songs like “Empty Your Bottles” and “Baltimore Knot” that employ super-fast palm-muted power chords and simple 2/2 drum patterns – the staples of good punk rock. It’s here that the band is able to combine an energy usually reserved for the stage with some surprisingly big hooks for a winning combination that’ll keep the kids bouncing wherever the band performs, whether they’re fans or not.
Johnson’s vocals may initially seem a bit too monotonous to keep the album on track for a half-hour, but surprisingly, he’s quite versatile in his delivery, bouncing from heart-on-sleeve choruses in tracks like “Wired Wrong” to the spiteful and spit-ful verses of “Milemarking.” The latter track is a highlight of the album’s second 15-minutes. Some really great harmonies are also employed sparingly throughout the record, never overly-emphasized, along with some Fat Mike-esque bass lines peppered in through various verses that don’t work hard to keep things fresh.
Johnson’s lyrics match the band’s overall output, both simple and familiar, yet effective. The record closes with arguably its gravest track (at least lyrically) in “Barker,” that does its job by leaving the listener wanting more. Resignation Day is a fine modern punk album – one of the better of 2008, and that’s saying a lot. If this is the band’s first attempt, I don’t think I’m being naive by expecting something great the next time out. [ END ]
02. Cut Bait
03. Speed Trap
04. Empty Your Bottles
05. Saltash Luck
06. Wired Wrong
07. Baltimore Knot
10. Shell Game
11. No Transfer
Run Time: 30:43