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Strung Out, The - Top Contenders: The Best of Strung... Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 8.5
Production 9.25
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 9.25
Reviewer Tilt 9.25
Final Verdict: 90%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.25
Musicianship 9.25
Lyrics 9.5
Production 9.38
Creativity 8.25
Lasting Value 9.75
Reviewer Tilt 9.75
Average: 93%

Strung Out, The - Top Contenders: The Best of Strung...

Reviewed by: CellarGhosts (07/20/11)
Strung Out - Top Contenders: The Best of Strung Out
Record Label: Fat Wreck Chords
Release Date: July 19, 2011


Closing in on 20 active years as a band, Strung Out have marked the occasion with a "best of" compilation featuring 23 fully remastered songs culled from all corners of the band's storied career as well as three brand new songs. Strung Out have remained a staple in the punk scene, influencing a number of young bands and maintaining a sturdy relationship with their devoted fan base. Despite not reaching the same levels of success as label mates NOFX or Against Me!, Strung Out continue to churn out memorable tech-punk/metal records, and Top Contenders is testament to this. It spotlights the band's growth from young skate-punk upstarts to melodic punk-metal stalwarts. The collection functions as both a gift to devoted fans and an introduction to curious newcomers.

Each song is presented in a fresh new format, the remastering process taking the fairly murky-sounding tracks from the band's earlier releases and giving them a crisp new sound - the guitars sounding much clearer than before, the drums and bass no longer sounding muddled and compacted in the mix. While the remastering treatment may be somewhat unnecessary on the more recent tracks (such as those pulled from 2007's Blackhawks Over Los Angeles and 2009's Agents of the Underground), they do nothing to diminish the quality of these songs and indeed present a cool little twist on recent favorites.

The new tracks are no mere afterthought either. Each of the three highlight the band's undeniable knack for crafting rousing, anthemic blasts of punk rock energy decorated with technical musicianship that would make thrash metal enthusiasts proud. The most notable of three is "City Lights." It's the sort of song one would expect as an uplifting, instantly addictive album closer that Strung Out have perfected on their last three or four full lengths. Featuring an infectious chorus, jaunty guitar hooks and driving enthusiasm, the song stands among the strongest tracks from the group's latest LP, proving that despite their age, Strung Out still have plenty of gas left in the tank.

Granted, there are some odd omissions here. Strangely absent is the Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues standout and fan favorite "Solitaire” as well as "No Voice of Mine" and "Andy Warhol." However, given the band's lengthy career, it's not too surprising that some tracks didn't make the cut. This is always the case with "best of" compilations. Some songs could've been included (indeed, it would've been nice hearing "Solitaire" in fully remastered format), but it's hard to complain when such a large amount of top-notch songs are present and accounted for sounding better than ever. The likes of "Matchbook," "Too Close To See" and "Mind of My Own" are given fresh new life. Tracks compiled from 2003's Exile In Oblivion, an album notable for its fairly murky production value, sounds as heavy and pummeling as they should have the first time around. Throw in three brand new songs that rock as hard as anything on the band's previous albums and it's virtually impossible to be upset with this compilation; an effective crash-course in Strung Out that will be sure to please old and new fans alike.

Recommended If You Like: Propagandhi – Supporting Caste; A Wilhelm Scream – Ruiner; Lagwagon – Resolve

myspace.com/strungout
 
Displaying posts 1 - 12 of 12.
09:45 AM on 07/26/11
#2
Matthew Tsai
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Sweet review! Did you claim this from the review list? If you did, thanks a bunch. There's always stuff on there I'd love to review but just don't have the time to. Good to see it done by someone else who's a great writer.
10:31 AM on 07/26/11
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CellarGhosts
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Sweet review! Did you claim this from the review list? If you did, thanks a bunch. There's always stuff on there I'd love to review but just don't have the time to. Good to see it done by someone else who's a great writer.
Thanks! I didn't, actually. Haha. I just felt like it'd be nice having a review up on here since I feel like Strung Out often get kinda overlooked. Thanks again though, it's reassuring getting this kind of feedback.
10:39 AM on 07/26/11
#4
Matthew Tsai
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Thanks! I didn't, actually. Haha. I just felt like it'd be nice having a review up on here since I feel like Strung Out often get kinda overlooked. Thanks again though, it's reassuring getting this kind of feedback.
Yeah they're definitely overlooked. I had no idea there were new songs on this either, going to have to check them out now.

Does Linda send you the review list, and if not, would you like to be on the list? The benefit is that the labels will usually send you the CD's you request for review.
10:56 AM on 07/26/11
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CellarGhosts
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Yeah they're definitely overlooked. I had no idea there were new songs on this either, going to have to check them out now.

Does Linda send you the review list, and if not, would you like to be on the list? The benefit is that the labels will usually send you the CD's you request for review.
Yeah the new songs rule, definitely worth checking out. And Linda's sent me a list before of CDs and I ended up reviewing a few from there but it's been a little while. I think she did send me a list sometime last month after another review of mine got posted but I didn't request anything.
11:06 AM on 07/26/11
#6
Matthew Tsai
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Yeah the new songs rule, definitely worth checking out. And Linda's sent me a list before of CDs and I ended up reviewing a few from there but it's been a little while. I think she did send me a list sometime last month after another review of mine got posted but I didn't request anything.
Ah ok. I'll let her know. In the mean time, just checked out City Lights and it rules.
11:24 AM on 07/26/11
#7
CellarGhosts
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Ah ok. I'll let her know. In the mean time, just checked out City Lights and it rules.
okay, cool. and yeah that's my favorite of the new songs. very solid track.
11:35 AM on 07/27/11
#8
breakwall
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Jim Cherry brought a lot of intangibles to this band...
05:11 PM on 07/27/11
#9
Alien
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The remasters sounds great.
10:41 PM on 04/30/12
TheOtherAndrew
Fuck Armageddon, This is HFIL
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I am sexually attracted to this review.
10:48 PM on 04/30/12
CellarGhosts
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I am sexually attracted to this review.
<3
10:46 AM on 09/22/12
Atavistic
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I didn't realize the songs were remastered and just got around to listening to this. I'd buy Exile In Oblivion a second time if it was mixed just like the tracks on here. Holy shit, words can't express how much better they sound.

Edit: Blackhawks, too. Who was that that mixed those? Matt Hyde? He fucked up a Pulley album too.
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