Reviewed by Meghan Player
After being drip-fed the first taste of I Am The Avalanche‘s new album Wolverines over the last couple of months, it was impossible not to get excited about the impending release – and certainly, from the first listen, it not only delivers but exceeds any expectations.
Kicking off with Two Runaways, the album explodes with a guttural growl of punk rock vocals and melodies; immediately grabbing your attention with one swift swoop. Interestingly, it’s the tracks inspiration [author Jack Kerouac] that shines through beautifully, with the band offering an expansive, almost cinematic sound, that reflects the vastness of Kerouac’s literary landscapes.
Not to be outdone, the full-force of the simplistic punk sound hits overdrive with 177 – a track that screams honesty from its heart, with a sheer amount of raw energy. ‘...We’re all going to hell…‘, vocalist Vinnie Caruana screams, and we can’t help but feel this is someone who has already been there and back.
Drawing from the previous tracks idea of damnation, The Shape I’m In describes Caruana’s personal hell; when suffering a spine injury that meant the singer was immobile and in a world of pain. Certainly, the heavier, more frenzied style of the melody echoes Caruana’s angst and frustration, once again allowing the honesty of the track to emote the listener on a personal level.
As the album continues, the band once again name-check Kerouac, with the aptly titled Young Kerouacs. The early punk ideals of the writers legacy flow within the bands narrative of undying love. It’s hypnotic, it’s anthematic and it’s wonderful.
Breaking the 3 minute song-cycle, title track Wolverines blasts out the straight-up, no bullshit attitude that dominates the album, whilst the band shift gears and melodies with the simple – but no less impactful – Anna Lee. The emphatic scream of the lyrics ‘…nothing can you bring you back…’ is astoundingly heartbreaking, contrasting against the clean soundscape.
In an album of favourites, it is hard to pick a clear frontrunner, but Save Your Name can certainly suffice. Its melody, message and delivery are punk rock perfection, making it impossible for the listener to not be caught up in a wave of glorious noise.
Perhaps the perfect summation of the album and its impact comes via final track, One Last Time – where the band seem to lay everything on the line. ‘…start a fire and watch it burn…’ Caruana screams – and this album certainly has; starting a fire within the heart and mind of the listener, and watching the impact it has on their lives.