The Banner Year - ...And Straight On 'Till Breakfast
Record Label: None
Release Date: January 1, 2007
True punk and true rock has lost it's face these days. There are so many bands out there that claim to be punk, or claim to be just straight rock, but they usually end up just being poppy scene bands or sellouts who just want to write another hook to be in the top 20 countdown. However, there are exceptions, though they may be few and far between. The Banner Year is one of these exceptions that claims to be punk rock, and holds true to it.
...And Straight On 'Till Breakfast starts out with "Greyscale," a song that can describe the band in 3:45. I'm going to spend some time on this first song because it so well describes the album as a whole. It mixes together nice picking guitar riffs with rhythm chords, not just one of top of the other, but sometimes back and forth, which adds something onto the quality of the song. It also gets together some almost breakdown sounding parts that you'll hear in modern hardcore bands such as A Day To Remember, just without the screaming and growling that most of those bands have in their breakdowns. Hearing it kind of makes you go "Oh, so there can be breakdowns without screaming." However, this does not mean The Banner Year is incapable of screaming, if that is your cup of tea. Towards the end of the song, they add in some screams just for those hardcore junkies that are starting to think they don't like them. On top of the screams is some pre-solo guitar riffs. Then the solo comes for those shred heads that just want to hear some ripping guitars. The part I did not like about the song is the repeated pre-chorus: "Whatever you say / Whatever you say / Whatever you say." This wasn't too bad the first time, but it got to where it felt like it needed a change. I felt like singer Jason Small could have expanded his vocal range here and just held a long note on the "say." But this is a minor detail that I quickly got over.
"...And Straight On 'Till Breakfast" is essentially the same song as "Greyscale" with different lyrics. The band made "Greyscale" flow right into this track so that if you didn't check, you'd think it was still the same song. Kind of cool, but it doesn't add anything onto the album that the first track didn't accomplish.
I'll just touch up on everything from track three to ten. Track three, "The Framing Business," slows down the tempo a little, keeping a clean picking riff through the intro. What this song has different, though, is a violin. Yes, there is a violin in the first verse, but it quickly gets dropped and replaced with the same old story. "The Great American Nightmare," adds in some very fast sung vocals that is kind of dizzying. A repeating pattern with The Banner Year is that the beginning of almost every song starts with a slower, clean picking intro, and quickly picks up the speed and goes back to chords. "A Long Time Coming" does just this, but goes back to the clean riff for the verses. The final track "Too Good To Be True" is the slowest consistent track on the album. It does the same thing as "A Long Time Coming," in that it has the clean picking intro, then goes to chords for the chorus, and back to the picking riff for verses. However this one was my favorite track on the album, but that's just me because I'm a sucker for the slow song.
When I consider all things about ...And Straight On 'Till Breakfast, I think "Not a bad punk rock album." Is there room for improvement? Sure, but that's true with any band. The thing about The Banner Year is that they have a little something for everyone. If you're a shred head and just want to hear a solo, The Banner Year has it for you. If you're a hardcore lover, The Banner Year has some screams and some breakdowns for you. Even if you're a scene pop-punk music fan, The Banner Year has the cleanly sung vocals for you too. I'll be watching for their next release, because it'll definitely be worth checking out.