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Reviewed by: Cory
// Published: 1/14/2003
After releasing one of the most impressive EP's of 2002, Boston's Suicide File begins 2003 with their first full-length. Calling "Twilight" a full-length is being mighty generous, however, as it clocks in at just over seventeen minutes. Regardless, the quality of "Twilight" definitely helps make up for its brevity. Eleven no-nonsense tracks give the listener an idea of the bare bones approach to hardcore that the Suicide File take. There are no metal breakdowns, no flashy guitar riffs and no sappy instrumental tracks. In fact, the only thing harsher than Dave Weinberg's screams are the intelligent lyrics, that offer up scathing state-of-the-union commentary on America from race relations and international policy to our own microcosms of social interaction. The Suicide File packs more into seventeen minutes than most bands could fit into a full CD.
"Twilight" starts the disc off with classic rock'n'roll guitar and launches into the first of many under-two-minute tirades. The vocals (and in most cases, the lyrics themselves) drive this song and in fact, all the songs on this album. "The Edge Of Town" starts by saying "The Cul de sac jungle is a cruel place / it's a living rotting failure from a different age," attacking the phenomena of white flight and, subsequently, urban decay. Simultaneously poetic and condemning, the words speak frankly about the topics that have been largely ignored as of late. The list of issues tackled goes on from there, covering the decline of genuine democracy, ("Rum, Romanism and Tammany") the post-September 11th stance taken by the United States ("Ashcroft") and even good ol' George W. himself ("W").
Musically, the Suicide File are essentially a punk band in the purest sense, in that their songs are largely comprised of high-speed bar chord-driven assaults on your senses. While there are certain points in the album that definitely defy this description, there isn't a whole lot more that one can really say to describe their sound. This works both for and against the band because while it accents their lyrics and lets them shine through, some music fans might be turned off by their stripped-down approach to hardcore.
Bottom Line: The Suicide File is one of my personal favorite bands as of late, but they are definitely not for everyone. The simplicity of their music is both their strength and their weakness. At less than twenty minutes, "Twilight" left me both disappointed and hungry for more, making its length my only real complaint about what is otherwise a great album from a band that thus far promises to turn a lot of heads.