Strike Anywhere – To Live in Discontent / 2005 Jade Tree / 13 Tracks / http://www.strikeanywhere.org / http://www.jadetree.com / Reviewed 11 February 2005
“To Live in Discontent” is a collection of Strike Anywhere’s out of print EP and other 7 inch work – when the disc starts off with “Asleep”, one can hear the intense sounds of the band even if the mastering and recording is not necessarily up to “Exit English”-standards. Something that is immediately recognizable is the cohesion of sound that Strike Anywhere has created over the course of their post-Inquisition careers; the only thing that has really changed is the quality of the songwriting and presentation. Don’t get me wrong, a track like “Antidote” has the catchy aural hooks of Thomas but still seems like a logical precursor to the music that was to follow. In fact, the tracks marking the beginning of the “Chorus of One” EP shows a better recording than the prior tracks as well as a more distinct set of instrumental parts, and “Question the Answer” shows an intensity that is unrivaled on any Strike Anywhere disc past or present. The main charge that was levied against Strike Anywhere on their “Exit English” disc was the fact that everything was too smooth and recorded too well. “Question the Answers” shows a side of Strike Anywhere that is simultaneously raw and intense while still being solidly recorded and professional.
Cracking barely one minute, a track like “Earthbound” cuts away all of the bullshit to make the essentiall Strike Anywhere track – a chorus of multiple people, an iconic set of guitar lines, and some of the most meaningful screaming ever. The slower tempoes of “Notes On Pulling The Sky Down” make the track almost untenable – it literally seems as if someone put this recording on the wrong speed, even with the faster bridges at the ending of the track. “Two Fuses”, a track that found its way to the cutting room floor during the “Exit English” sessions, really has the sound of the rest of the “Exit English” disc but lacks in the presence that the majority of the rest of the songs on the disc have. “To Live In Discontent” ends with a trio of covers, of which “Two Sides” smacks of pure Strike Anywhere. In fact, that may be the strongest part of “To Live In Discontent” – even though some of the arrangements are a little odd (Dag Nasty’s “Values Here”), Strike Anywhere re-creates each of the tracks in their own sound. For those fans of Strike Anywhere, this is essential. For new fans, this creates SA’s entire discography in petit.
Top Tracks: Where Are They Now, Earthbound