I Am The Avalanche
Brooklyn punk stalwarts I Am The Avalanche may have gotten too comfortable following 2011’s Avalanche United. Whereas the group’s sophomore effort exploded with barely controlled chaos that reaffirmed their intensity and passion, Wolverines plods along at a middling pace that settles for consistency. Make no mistake, their rabid energy is still intact as Vinnie Caruana’s throat-searing vocals furiously underline songs (“177”, “The Shape I’m In”) but much of the new record falls victim to being interchangeable, which is great for fans of the Pennywise approach: find what works, do it well, rinse and repeat. It’s a catalyst for the band’s diminished range and lack of aural variety but Caruana, Brandon Swanson, and Brett Romnes are masters of pairing crunchy punk drives with heart-tangling lyricism.
The latter certainly seems to be a cathartic, life-saving practice for Caruana and his brutal remarks let you know he’s been through the wringer. “Wolverines”, “Where Were You?”, and “Two Runaways” chart his thoughts and his “fuck simplicity” storytelling which goes to lengths to describe “a real American work of art” amidst a gritty downpour of chords. The approach shows how human I Am The Avalanche have always been and it’s why listening to Wolverines feels sort of like lending an ear to a friend who needs to vent and disengage from a few years of emotional scarring. They’re a little worse for wear, but they’re hell bent on soldiering on, even when things are starting to blur together.
Listen: “Where We You?”, “177”, “Young Kerouacs”, “Save Your Name” || Watch: “The Shape I’m In”