With a middle school punk feel, the folk-punk outfit My Life In Black And White has given us a new record with which to be obsessed. Columbia is the band’s fourth effort and I have to say it’s their best yet. This album shows their ability to take the musical aggression of youth and mix it with lyrics that speak to their maturity. Although I am only using folk-punk as that’s what other folks call them; it’s really not accurate at this point in their career. Unless you examine some of the lyrics in a vacuum then there’s really nothing folk about these guys and that’s alright. As far as I am concerned this is punk record all the way through.
Well it’s time to buy a new drink for the old drunk
It’s a shame to stay gray while all of your brother are black and white
But what do I know
– Last Of The Young Guns
This is one of my favorite kind of records. It’s the sort of thing you’re likely to hear coming out of my truck doing ninety down the freeway. It’s got a great pace from song to song, it’s easy to sing along with and catchy enough that you really can’t help it. In the vein of all great records, I think that everyone reading will find songs on here that could have been written about their life. And that’s really the hallmark of good music, it brings you somewhere, it doesn’t have to be somewhere nice but it’s always familiar. These kids from Portland have accomplished that and done so with style.
When it all fell apart I was 17
With a flick of a wrist and a tendency to run
Run out the window
At 18 years old we quit that shit
But my punk rock records and few split lips held high
We ran down the low road
There are some records that just rise to the top of the heap, with seemingly little effort, and Columbia is one of those, without a doubt. This one is proof that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Whether it’s Dylan Summers belting out his lyrics, the rhythm provided by Chris DeSantos’ drums and Mole Harris’ bass, or the scathing guitars provided by Jon Burbank and Andrew Wicker everything just comes together and grabs your attention. There’s a whole lot crammed in to the record lyrically and the band has the intensity and chops to match Summers’ lyrical ability. I would feel just as at home listening to this at ear bleeding volume on headphones at work (I’m doing that while writing this, in fact) or putting in on as my heading-home-from-a-show-soundtrack. This one is slightly more accessible than some of the stuff I write about without taking away from the things that usually drawn me to an album. Suffice it to say, I’m impressed and really glad to have a chance to share My Life In Black And White with all of you.
You won’t remember these days
How we held and loved you as the earth quaked
you tore me in two
Showed me love and what I had to do
Baby, the best in life is yet to come
I’ll let go when you run
– Too Close To Home
If you’re in Pacific Northwest, you’ll probably have a chance to see these guys live long before I do and I know I certainly wouldn’t skip it. If they are half as tight as they are on this record than it’d probably be one of the best shows of the year. That’s the only thing I don’t like about living in Houston. I don’t get see nearly as much stuff that’s Essential Listening, which this is, as I’d like. One of the things I love about our little site is that I do get to write about guys like this and hopefully turn more folks on to their music. So make sure you share this album with some folks, the music is more than worth it!