Wallingford's Hostage Calm have been a confusing, yet welcome, oddity within the local punk/hardcore scene since 2007. Since then, they have released a four-song demo and an LP, both of which surprised listeners by refusing to rely on classic hardcore formulas like speed or heaviness. Instead, they take influence from 90's post-hardcore bands like Quicksand and 80's alternative rock bands like The Smiths. By drawing from these influences, they have formed a unique sound which is poppy and melodic while still aggressive and in-your-face. The label Run For Cover Records recently announced that they would be releasing Hostage Calm's second full length later this year.
With the announcement came a new song, titled "Affadavit", which can be streamed on the label's website. The new song is a huge step away from the band's earlier material. While almost completely abandoning any hardcore sound they once had, Hostage Calm chooses to take a much more upbeat and melodic path. Vocalist Chris Martin's voice has matured drastically since the band's last full-length, Lens. He completely forgoes any screaming whatsoever, and instead sings every line with perfect pitch and melodies. Guitarist Tom Chiari manages to create chord progressions that are both straight-forward and experimental at the same time. The chorus is anthemic while the bridge toys around with more unusual riffs. The drumming compliments this style flawlessly. It's tight and intricate without being overly flashy. The song finishes with a vocal line recorded with a vocoder effect which, on paper, sounds cheesy but within the context of the song works perfectly. Lastly, the song's recording quality is impeccable. It was recorded at Silver Bullet Studios by Greg Thomas, who records many of Connecticut's most promising hardcore bands. This time, however, Thomas has outdone himself. The song sounds so professionally mixed and mastered that it is nearly impossible to believe it was made by a local band. Although "Affadavit" is relatively soft compared to the band's earlier material, it certainly calls for multitudes of sing-alongs and stagedives, as any great punk song should. To sum everything up, "Affadavit" is one of those songs that makes you never want to pick up an instrument ever again, because you know you will never write something that good.
You can listen to the track here: