A Death In The Family - This Microscopic War
With the recent official demise of scene legends Hot Water Music, there's clearly a opportunity for someone to step into the vacant position for gruff, melodic punk rock pioneered by the likes of Leatherface and Jawbreaker, but I admit to a certain scepticism before cueing this disc up for the first time. In seeking to distance itself from 'mall punk' and emo, the punk underground is too quick to embrace mediocrity as an alternative. But I needn't have worried. With bands like A Death In The Family around there's proof that for optimism and life, the format remains hard to beat.
The initial play could leave the listener thinking the Melbourne, Australia band have brought little new to the turntable, but subsequent listens reveal a depth and genuine passion largely devoid in today's alt. rock. HWM's sense of unity and drive is here ("Not everyone's gonna jump ship / Some are leaving but other's won't / There's nothing here we can't fix." - 'Red Sky') but other touches, such as guitarist Sarah's vocal contributions (reminiscent of labelmates Fifth Hour Hero) and the occasional violin set ADITF apart from the crowd, building a set that could even turn the heads of an older, Springsteen-feting audience.
The last track - 'Gasping' - is a sterling example of the whole genre: the opening chimes giving way to some driving riffs before vocalist Adam wonders aloud that "I can't help think / Something passed through / The distance between one and two." The final, hanging violin note proof positive that punk can have a heart, a heart that can be torn apart.
An Australian band on a Welsh indie label may seem an unlikely combination, but in A Death In The Family, Newest Industry may well have happened upon some worthy heirs to HWM's crown.
PS. Note to Newest Industry: old punks never die, they simply lose their eyesight. Give that some thought when choosing a font for the artwork next time, eh?
The Newest Industry