Upon reading the press release that accompanied The Black & The Blue, the debut full-length from San Jose, CA, band For.The.Win., I saw that they called themselves “Bay Area Posi-Core.” I’m going to be perfectly honest with you folks, I don’t have the slightest idea what “Posi-Core” means. Nevertheless, I trudged forth and listened to this brief eleven song CD, trying to determine what this “Posi-Core” of which they spoke was.
And really, I still don’t know. However, what I did hear sounded to me much more like the “gruff punk” sounds of bands like American Steel or Red City Radio. Maybe “Posi-Core” and “gruff punk” are similar genres, I don’t know. But I liked what I heard from For.The.Win.
The band seems to draw off punk and hardcore for a snarling, melodic and yet simple style of music. It’s not exactly anything I’ve never heard before, but these guys pull it off effectively. The opening track, “Let It Begin,” is very effective at grabbing the listeners attention with its catchy chorus refrain of “Let the revolution begin/I hope it never ends.” At two minutes, the song is almost tragically short, because it’s enough fun that I found myself wishing there were more verses.
From there, some of the songs become a little less memorable. This is most likely due to the fact that most of these songs are incredibly short. Only six of the eleven tracks on the CD are longer than two minutes, and only two of those six are over three minutes. The album is simply too brief. There’s some obvious songwriting talent, but it’s hard for any of the songs to really stick with you because the album is so short at less than twenty-two minutes total.
Stand outs in the album are definitely the opener and closer, “Let It Begin,” and “Die Young,” as well as “I’m An Outsider,” which sits near the middle of the album. With The Black & The Blue, For.The.Win. displays some strong song writing abilities and musicianship, but they don’t show as much of it as they could because the album is over as soon as it begins.