From The Ground Up, Words Can't Explain | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

From The Ground Up, Words Can't Explain 

(Round 2 Records, CD)

Burlington's From the Ground Up trade in passionate, socially conscious hardcore. Their tunes are no-frills, featuring rock-solid drumming, muscular guitars and guttural vocals. This formula has worked well for a number of bands, most notably Gorilla Biscuits, who FTGU musically resemble. Their latest, Words Can't Explain, is both visceral and uplifting, a healthy dose of earnest hardcore.

Several players contributed to the album, some as full-time members, others as temporary fill-ins. Notables include the talented punk drummer Bobby Hackney Jr., and bassist Adam Meilleur of dark-pop act The Static Age. Handling axe duties are Alan Blackman and Paul Rushford. Dean Blumberg contributes bass to the first four cuts, although Julian Hackney (who doesn't perform on the CD) currently provides the low end. Vocalist Alex Pond is the de facto leader of this crew, and he tackles the role with confidence and authority.

The disc opens with "Nothing to Go Back To," which is propelled by double-time drums and chugging, rapid-fire guitars. "If we struggle for our dreams to be realized, we must struggle even more for them to be forgotten," Pond barks over the musical maelstrom.

"The Death of Fear" continues the sonic assault, but at a more relaxed tempo. Which isn't to say the song is sluggish; its toothy riffs and rugged rhythms still provide plenty of velocity. "Desperation transforms into strength / We rise to smash and reclaim our life," Pond howls. Here, as elsewhere on the disc, he offers empowering, if somewhat vague, verbiage.

A rising tide of feedback heralds "The Greater Good," which features the kind of fist-pumping sing-along that makes hardcore a perennial favorite among disenfranchised youth needing to belong. "I love my friends . . . I love my friends . . . I love my friends to fucking death!" Pond belts. Chances are the feeling is reciprocal.

"October" is rather romantic, despite its razor-sharp guitars and punishing, half-time breakdown. "I will not shield my eyes / Can't close to the beauty, the beauty of you," the lyrics state. "To celebrate a life, I celebrate you / The catalyst of wonderful." Who says tough guys can't be sensitive?

FTGU are noble keepers of the hardcore flame. Long may they burn.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Casey Rea

Casey Rea

Casey Rea was the Seven Days music editor from 2004 until 2007. He won the 2005 John D. Donoghue award for arts criticism from the Vermont Press Association.


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Album Review

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2021 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Advertising Policy  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation