The Semifinals

After a year spent locked away in a sweltering practice space at a Garland steel mill, Andrew Strickland, James Layfield and Aaron Beaudrie, known collectively as The Semifinals, are finally ready to unleash their pent-up angst on an unsuspecting public. And, fortunately for us, the trio's frustrations while serving time with previous area acts has only sharpened the band's edge. This disc bristles with inventiveness and intensity.

Nowhere is that power more evident than on the opening cut "Yr Fists." Underneath an atypical, post-punk assault, Strickland rants on like a man who has, thankfully, listened to quite a bit of Gang of Four. Martial but still downright catchy, "Yr Fists" isn't the sound of some random collection of locals; rather it's a refreshing expression of creativity that bodes well for The Semifinals' continued evolution.

Nothing else on the EP matches the impressive opening salvo however, but that's not much of a slight. While aggressive and well-played, songs such as "Teenage Arms" and "Preston and Amanda" lean a bit far in the emo punk direction for easy digestion, but "The Last Weight Drops" ends the effort in fine, if slightly overwrought, fashion. Amidst all the harmony vocals and guitar overdubs, The Semifinals, despite the rather pedestrian name, have delivered an unexpected treat.


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