VARSITY / BLOODPACT - split LP
The two bands’ music is good, but different- vastly different.
Varsity, the A side of the record, has nine tracks of earnest, youthful, downright cliché and cheesy youth crew. Truth be told, this is the picture-perfect band to listen to if one wanted to get an idea of youth crew’s best and worst traits- naïve, simple lyrics, gang vocals, quick but not blisteringly fast beats, a mid-song breakdown, and collegiate font logo lettering. These are honest and heartfelt positive hardcore songs written by high-school punks- for youth crew revival of that era, it’s middle-of-the-pack, par for the course, about what one would expect if Youth of Today had still been in high school and were from a better neighborhood, i.e. a more conservative, suburban one. Fun to sing along to at times, but can grow old fast.
Side B is Bloodpact, who come with 11 songs of hardcore with a raspy powerviolence influence and a level-headed, slightly left-wing political lean. I feel like the songs are here, but I absolutely hate the mixing done on this- the drums are WAY too loud, the guitars are hardly distinct from one another, and the vocals are too soft to be heard very well. A slightly personal grip would be the peculiar names of the song titles, but with the lyrics and explanations listed, it’s not as big of a problem, as those are more important than the title of the song. The music is not unlike the political hardcore of the time, played on a 45. Short and simple music with long and complicated meanings behind the songs- another product of the time. It’s impossible to overlook the mixing job, however- I’d be intrigued to hear the songs remixed and re-mastered.
DIY at its finest- always earnest, usually cheesier than Nachos on a Saturday night, and ultimately a fun package of 90s-era music. Definitely a piece for Michigan punk/hardcore collectors and so-called “noobs” to check out for this kind of music.