Over the James
The name Avail should rest somewhere near the top on the very short list of bands that really matter in today’s punk landscape. It’s a designation that they’ve earned through years of touring and a discography overflowing with high quality releases. On this, their fourth full length, Avail continues to deliver inspiring punk rock anthems. Over the James could be their best album to date, but then again, you could make a pretty strong case for any of the other ones as well. There simply isn’t a bad Avail record, so I guess my vote really goes to whichever one happens to be playing at the time. There’s very little new ground broken on this record. Over the James sounds like 14 new songs written by a band called Avail delivered with the same passion and fire that we’ve come to expect from these Richmond, VA residents. It’s one of the few safe bets in punk rock: Avail will not disappoint you.
There’s an underlying honesty that runs through the entire Avail discography of intensely personal songs about the human race’s everyday battles within ourselves, with our friends and enemies, and with the world around us. But it’s not time wasted on complaining about what is going on, it’s a statement that says, “I’m going to survive everything this world throws at me and I’m going to make a difference within my lifetime.” Avail writes songs about life that can inspire. Perhaps the strongest testament to their ability to captivate the punk rock heart lies in the individuals in the crowd at an Avail show. It’s an odd occurrence when you can find members of all of the splintered genres of punk (emo/hardcore/ska/skins/punk/etc) gathered together to see the same band. Look around at the next Avail show to see who else knows every word to every song played that night.
Inspiring, ain’t it! Lookout Records, P.O. Box 11374, Berkeley, CA 94712-2374