Blue Tom is not your normal punk band. This, their fourth cd, is a great collection of not just punk, but also true rock music.
Since they are a punk band, they have the mandatory pop-punk song here and there. In between them are the real gems…the songs that have punk influences, but aren’t actually falling into that genre. Not that the poppy stuff is bad, but their other songs are so much better. This is especially true of their dark stuff (i.e. the ender track “Traitors”, which has a huge solo outro which rocks like nothing else on the CD). They also are a very technical band, using upbeats and other syncopations to turn the cliché into the fresh. Another hallmark of this band is their idea of starting out with a relatively small sound and adding layers upon layers of music. It effectively creates a climatic feel in their choruses, which makes me both shiver and want to sing along. The vocals which help create this feel are both smooth and fierce, powerful and tender. They shine often, and are very well done. Their backup vocals consist of another excellent singer, and at one point a whole bunch of guys yelling “Hey! Ho!” (which is truly cool). Their bassist is highly inventive, creating swift walk lines and even driving some songs with his intensity and melody. They don’t feature a breakdown or solo very often, which shows a great confidence in themselves, and a maturity that comes with age. Highlights here include the opener, and the amazing back to back combo of “Sneak Attack on the Devil” and “Pushing And Fighting”. On the latter, their religious beliefs shine through heavily in the lyrics, but not in a preachy way. They get some definite kudos for that.
This is the future of punk. Blue Tom is blazing a trail, and it’s up to the rest of the punk world to see if it has enough talent to follow in its huge footsteps. If they do, we will usher in a new era of music. If not, well, we still have Blue Tom. 8.5 out of 10.