Prize Country

With Love

Hex Records 2009

Oregon's rocking post-hardcore outfit slam into your flesh and your heart like a clenched fist, bloodied with anger and regret.  Immediate comparisons to a rockier version of Quicksand can be made and I even hear some references to Seaweed in their sound.  But that would sell these firebreathing rockers a little short as they have a seedier side to their style than either of those bands.  Case in point is Regular Nights, with its fiery vocals and Fugazi echoes within its surreal riffs that jump back and forth between meaty and dream-like melodicism.  A thick, shuffling bass guitar sets the stage for the angered strains of It Was A Night Just Like Tonight.   A huge main riff bashes like a sledgehammer and things get rowdy on Gamble.  The Seaweed accents reveal themselves periodically (I Could be A Knife), but the more you listen to the near melodies with a punk edge on songs such as What We're Made Of you can see these tracks softening up a little and then drifting on to albums like Four from those Tacoma veterans.  Bigger Picture takes the DC elements of Fugazi's explorative songwriting and then smashes them up against the angst of Seaweed and builds and angrier, yet somehow contemplative monster.  The albums ends on a saddened note with the title track.  Sort of a longing look over the shoulder, regret seeps out of the riffs as well as the vocals.  Prize Country delve deep into DC post hardcore foundations, rough them up and rock them out to form their own raucous yet subtly emotional style which punches first and keeps the regretful fists coming.  With Love is a deeply exciting and turbulent listen.