Unlike the gritty, socio-political fury of the East Coast punk and hardcore scene, its West Coast counterpart produces a lighter, cleaner blend of punk influenced by the surf and skate community of California, and in most instances, burns on teenage attention spans rather than the need to discuss life’s tribulations.
The Line’s “Monsters We Breed” is a promising release from a close-knit four member punk band based out of Big Bear Lake, Calif. Their fourth album for Volcom Entertainment, (a record label subsidiary of the popular youth driven clothing company) personifies the label’s attempt to stray away from redundant, speed driven punk in favor of bands that can craft an eccentric and fairly abstract sound and still express the genre’s anti-establishment roots.
“We pride ourselves on originality, quality, and the true definition of punk, something that is radical and unorthodox. Our main goals are to remain independent from any outside influences and to take care of our bands,” said Ryan Immegart, a co-founder of Volcom Entertainment and member of The Line.
“Monsters We Breed” flirts with an occasional pop flavor, yet many of the songs possess intriguing bridges and the album’s choruses achieve a fluid urgency highlighting the album’s apt production by Steve Kravac, a member of Ten Foot Pole.
The title of the record is a metaphor describing the band’s passion for writing and playing music.
“It has become a monster. It controls our lives in every way. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but either way our life lessons become the songs we write,” Immegart said.
Lyrics to songs like “The Earthworm Crisis” and “Heartattack” hint at an almost semi-existential quality in their messages about appreciating life and friendship, done with just enough candidness and honesty to separate The Line from bands that write similar songs merely to pick up chicks.
While such emotional subject matter is common with Emo-core, the current punk movement is mainly divided into bands that reside within the fatalistic gutters of anarchy and alcoholism, cater to the Farrelly Brothers’ audience, or quickly become trapped in a wad of corporate bubblegum.
Regardless of whether you personally like this album, The Line has undeniably put together 11 songs that drift quickly through the tide of human experience and offer a fresh take on the rebellious energy and concerns of punk rock.
In what may be surprising to some of their fans, The Line is rumored to be in the midst of a deal with MCA records, a move that may challenge their tightly held ambitions and DIY beliefs.
With “Monsters We Breed” demonstrating the group’s future potential and artistic direction, a major label release will prove if they can maintain the difficult balance between mainstream popularity and original credibility, something Volcom has done considerably well at, as both a clothing company and a (still remaining) independent record label.
The Line will be opening for the Deviates tomorrow at Freeze in Fort Lauderdale as part of the “Distance is a Monster Tour.”