Usually, there’s an undersell when it comes to splits these days. Two tracks at most per band. But this split is one to savor. Five tracks each and what you get is a brilliant account of why Nightmares for a Week and Banquets are two bands that are vastly underrated. NFAW impose themselves as the next Gaslight Anthem while Banquets take the melodic-punk genre and own it. With these ten tracks, there’s more than enough to hold over until their next full-lengths.
NFAW play off the melodic-alternative vibe as usual and do establish their quintessential post-rock ambiance. Their non-complex yet catchy arrangements nod to Restorations’ LP2 while keeping the signature that Civilian War painted last year. “Canadian Tuxedo” is their emblematic hook-filled show-pony which mixes up well alongside tracks like the folky, acoustic “Dead Will Stay”. They all reassure that NFAW stick to basics while showcasing their diversity.
Banquets however has a more direct, in-your-face approach with their melodic punk pulling no punches. Their faster-paced medleys balance the record out nicely adding a strong punk-depth to things, much akin to last year’s self-titled full-length. “The Engineer” stretches out Travis Omilian’s vocals and as usual, he delivers nothing but gold. His powerful voice backed by crisp, tight-knit drums and a sprawl of anthemic riffs and hooks build their arsenal perfectly. “Come Home Ragged” is no doubt the most prominent tune on offer from them as it’s full of energy and snark. It’s another example why they shouldn’t be ignored.
Overall, both bands step up to the plate and knock it out the park. There’s quantity yes, but so much quality also. For all rock fans, take this in and chalk one more down in the win column. Look for both bands to be making bigger strides in 2014. If this record is an indicator or a litmus test, it gauges them pretty well.
5 /5 Stars
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