Courtesy Drop - What Makes This Place Worth Calling Our Home
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: December 16, 2011
I've always had a little trouble separating indie and punk music. I don't mean I had trouble defining the music I listened too, but more like which I valued more...without going into too much detail, both had ther pros and cons (it's why I have plans for both Modest Mouse AND Wonder Years tattoos), but I always found my place with music like this. Somewhere in the middle, I find bands like Courtesy Drop, complete with the glorious sounds of early 2000's emo and post-hardcore. It music like this I grew up listening to thanks to my older brother Travis, and it's albums like this I grew to love.
On WMTPWCOH (what an abbreviation), Courtesy Drop have put together a release chalk-full of thick guitar riffs, hard-hitting drums and bass parts, strained vocals and most importantly raw emotion. The first four tracks are the main attraction here, beginning with the lyrical heavy-hitter "Who I Could Have Been" (starting with the call "If there's a life after death/I hope it's not based on what I'm living/Because it's a stretch to say that I'm not dead already") over a distorted guitar-line before bursting into full-band fun.
"This Song is About My Old Music Scene" pulls towards more of a punk vein, changing it up as soon as the bridge hits and slowing things down as the track comes to its end. Next comes one of my personal favorites, "NewSangWan", combining most of my favorite elements of post-hardcore (things like the change between clean and unclean guitar parts and vocals, and deeply relatable lyrical offerings). Acting as a perfect ending to the previous three songs, the title track seeps with organic energy after chugging guitars and excellent instrumental bridge. It finally comes to a close with the memorable and appropriately gang-vocalled lines "We fought too many battles/And embraced the pain of the weight all on our own/But finding friends that counteract the stumbles is what makes this place worth calling our home".
The next five tracks are re-recordings of Courtesy Drop's original EP, and while it's not hard to tell the change in vibe and tone between these songs and the new ones, that's by no means a fault. "Tylenol and Fireball" continues the fast playing of "...My Old Music Scene", and "The Good Old Days" is a fast and fun instrumental until the last 45 seconds. The highlights of these revisited tunes are definitely "Blood of My Blood and Jam of My Jams" and "High Grounds, Low Expectations", two late 90's emo-tinged numbers that revolve around parts of chugging guitars, whirling tones and pounding drums.
This release ends with another recording of "What Makes This Place Worth Calling Our Home", recorded differently and featuring some downright hardcore howling of vocalist Paul Chalos, and some guest vocals from other presumed friends and band members, and an unknown female vocalist. It's the sound of a band going into the studio and letting loose. It's important for a band to enjoy their time, contributing both talent and emotion into their music. This is exactly what we get from Courtesy Drop on What Makes This Place Worth Calling Our Home. It's not perfect, but that's always been the appeal to me- the idea that I could walk into a local show without knowing what to expect and coming out with a gem like this. Congrats on one of the best original albums I've heard in a while, boys.