Album Review: Reunions - Winter Heart, Summer Skin

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REUNIONS

Winter Heart, Summer Skin

Independently Released

 

 

 

When punk rock hit its mainstream stride in the mid-to-late 1990’s, there were bands in the underground giving us very exciting, raw, and gritty music that could walk perfectly alongside what we were hearing on the radio at the time, but also slide in alongside darker, moodier groups like The Smiths; artists like Hot Water Music, who San Francisco based Reunions often draws comparisons to. We’re shown quickly why they draw those comparisons on their debut album Winter Heart, Summer Skin as soon as it kicks off with the up-tempo “Lights Left On” and we’re introduced to the gravely rawness of Eric Saylor’s lead vocals. But the group, seemingly by design, never allows you to get to comfortable in one place. Songs such as “Past Present Future Perfect,” “In Blackout Rooms,” and “Faster Still” all drive in a way that recall the feel of late 1990’s scene that tinkered with the idea of fusing in very emotional fueled lyrics without crossing the line sonically into being the quintessential definition of “emo.” Over the 33 minutes/10-track album they keep things moving with unbridled energy for the most part, but masterfully insert a slower paced song at the perfect moments to offer the listener a breather such as with “And Endless Night, A Century” and “Me, Incomplete,” both which allow Saylor’s voice to take the lyrics to a level that hits you right in the feels. Whereas the punk rock scene has become somewhat watered down over the years with what we call “diet punk” becoming the prevalent, acceptable sound, bands like Reunions come along to prove that you can craft songs that still have a lot to say while touching on different emotions, but that also still carry grit to them – this is the type of raw honesty that the scene was built on and a tradition that Reunions is clearly ready to run forward with.

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