Defiant Hearts – Arlington
Record Label: 6131 Records
Release Date: December 4, 2007
Arlington never really concludes. Big claims are constantly made; claims like not letting life bend you over or finally ending harmful relationships. Revolutions and turn-arounds are alluded to, and I gotta say, I believe in the steps being made. But when everything fades away, the mood is still pretty tense. The music contained, though, is of the most refreshing sort. And I’m not speaking in terms of originality. I’m talking about listening to an album so personally relevant that you wouldn’t be surprised if your ugly mug was on the album cover. Defiant Hearts mix plenty of harder moments (“Old Hosmer” and “Ghost.”) with oddly timed, melodious high points (“Two Lives”). Yet I never once doubted their conviction to (sometimes) wishy-washy melodic hardcore. Josh Rudd’s bellowing yell brings about all the ferocity and intensity we crave. The guitars blast away at stoic faces, forcing emotion and involvement. I mean, doesn’t that sound positively lovely? Thought so.
The lyrics usually cement my love for a record in hardcore. Arlington delivers one-liners and mantras to live by on nearly every song. “When Time Was Ours” begins with a light drum beat, which then segues into large doses of screams and general heaviness. The lyrics look back at a past gone awry and the people that stick with us through anything. I think we can all relate: “We trust in few, but believe in each other.” However, the pummeling screams and chaotic ending doesn’t necessarily paint the best picture of the future. Oh well. “Set Sail” makes use of the band’s (semi) signature 80’s influenced guitar solos. Mixing this technicality with breakdowns and a slow piano interlude accomplishes two things: 1.) We see a journey set to music 2.) We see new life in a genre. Maybe the band has two meanings for us when uttering the line, “New life flows through these veins.”
“From Sand To Glass” is a perfect finale for Arlington. It includes slower, introspective sections that are interspersed throughout the caustic moments of gang vocals and frantic snare hits. I was truly floored by this song, and it’s wasn’t due to the musical compositions. As a new year starts and we see signs of recession and lingering warfare, it’s all too easy to push things aside. We put our headphones on and listen to breakup songs all day. Why wouldn’t we? We’re not going to change the world! But, by doing just a bit of extra thinking while listening to the lines, “I will show some fucking sincerity / I will show some fucking passion / This is my life, I won’t go down without a fight / I won’t be a victim anymore,” we can mold the words into a call to do something worthwhile, to make things how we want them. I’m not saying this record made me want to join the Peace Corps. or anything, but can it be that bad of a thing to read the paper (knowledge is your friend) a few times a week or to volunteer our time rather than shopping for more skinny jeans? Thought so.
Recommended If You Like: Comeback Kid, Have Heart, contained energy, Rites of Spring (there couldn't be a RoS cover hidden in here, could there???), watching the leaves fall