6 / 10
Gainesville is no longer just a college town in Florida. It is also an apt descriptor for a style of punk music popularized by bands like Hot Water Music and Gunmoll, both originally from Gainesville, with releases out on No Idea Records, based in the town of distinction. North Lincoln, who hail from Grand Rapids, Michigan, fit between those brackets perfectly. In fact, the riff and guitar tone on the album opener, "My Summer Spent Indoors", remind me a lot of the opening track on Gunmoll's 'Board of Rejection' album. It's not exactly the same but the vibe is there for sure. They've even got two vocalists, one whose vocals are a little gruffer than the other's, although they shy away from dual-vocals-singing-different-parts vibe that Hot Water Music did so well. For those of you unaware of the sound I am describing when referencing those bands, think driving mid-paced melodic punk with hoarse vocals barely sung in key, with lyrics about clinging to youthful ideals and holding on to friendships for dear life (that, unbeknownst to the lyric author, inevitably won't matter much five years down the road).
To say this is not a good record would be inaccurate. It's fine for what it is. If the majority of the No Idea Records catalog (the chunk that isn't heavy as hell) appeals to you then you will most likely be perfectly content with this album. If you've cherished your Hot Water Music records since they were first released and you need a bit more from bands' lyrics than "so here we are, on the edge looking at the water, please hold my hand, as we tie these bricks together, as we take flight into the air tonight, they won't understand us until they're staring at us smiling up from the bottom...", then I'd suggest dusting off your copy of 'Fuel For the Hate Game' and waiting until North Lincoln's next record to see if they've come into their own a bit more.