A horrible hack


Efforts and Means

Year Released: 2012
Format: CD
Label: Jump Start Records
Reviewed by James Williams on Mar 25, 2013
Astpai are from Austria. I never knew that! Anyway, this is their fourth full length and it feature eleven songs. Suburban prelude is an intro track with a long movie sample and 20 seconds of full-blown guitar at the end. Biting Dogs Don't Chew starts with ridiculous feedback and more of that sample but it's also where Astpai's punk rock finally kicks in. I've not heard punk rock like this for quite sometime. It brings back memories of school and nights listening to too much NOFX. The difference with Astpai though is greater hardcore punk sensibilities in their music, the gang vocals and the characteristic vocal harmonies. There's so much energy in it. Intentions makes more of the hardcore influence of the band, with a shoutier feel to it. It's still fast as hell though thanks to that drumming. Like a lot of punk bands, Astpai come with a decent sense of humour. The song title "Give Us Today Our Daily Bread, Cars and Flatscreens" says it all really. Heart To Grow has a bit a country vibe to it in the early chords but is pretty much exactly what you want from punk. For those of you who didn't think bands like this still exist, shame on you! The productions is cool, the record doesn't sound too polished or sloppy. The guitars sound warm, the drums pound in the background and the bass adds depth too it all. The vocals, with or without harmonies sound clear too. Astpai have their calmer moments too, like on Stalactites of Heart, where they flow through a mid-paced ballad style song, kind of. The solo however is awesome. Not overplayed or too beard stroking, but just right. Honest or Sentimental has a really good harmonised chorus and that nostalgic summer feel. Astpai seem to have a great knack for writing killer punk tunes and to be fair, they are on their fourth record so you'd expect that. They are equally as good in their short, sharp songs as they are in their longer ones. Still full of energy and great sing along moments. Take Act/Claim for example, it's a minute of pure, unadulterated hardcore. When you're nearing the end of Efforts and Means you don't want the record to end. It's not often you get an album that doesn't have a dud song on it. This doesn't and should end up everyone's record collection. Astpai are playing in Leeds in May alongside Smoke Or Fire. You should probably go.

Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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