Despite being together for about ten years, Lithuania, a Philadelphia pop-punk-ish two piece, have only had a handful EPs and 7-inch released. Surprisingly, Hardcore Friends, released August 14th, is their debut full length. So was it worth the wait?
It starts promisingly with "God In Two Persons", a slice of solid, frenetic pop-punk, sonically reminiscent of Desaparacedios, with easy and repetitive vocals. The songs is barely two minutes long, but it's a powerful wake-up call opening to the record.
The first half of the (quite short) album follows in much the same way. I love "2009"; it's so defensive and angry with some pop-punk hey-day level guitar riffs. If the title is a reference to the year, then Lithuania and I experienced 2009 in very similar ways, including listening to just a whole lot of Saves The Day.
Unfortunately, the first single off of the album, "Piece", is a weaker point on the LP. There's less passion or fire to it. It feels over-worked and under-felt, although the opening riff is decent. "2009" feels like it would have been a better lead single, or possibly "Deaf Gene". 'Denser and more thoughtful than "2009", "Deaf Gene" still has pent up energy and a Promise Ring-esque low-fi emo vibe that strikes a real, honest chord.
Over-all, Hardcore Friends is a good album. The musicianship is really well done, especially the drums, and the majority of the songs are really well constructed. It's honest, un-pretentious old school emo and a good, solid debut album for Lithuania. Working on it for such a long time was a good choice, and it's resulted in a very well done album. Indeed, it was well worth the wait.
Review Score: 8.2 out of 10
Hardcore Friends is out now through Lame-O Records.