Avail – One Wrench

One Wrench

Best known as Richmond, Virginia’s high-power claim to fame, Avail is back with their latest full-length album of just all-out, energy-fused punk rock. If you know Avail, you know what to expect here. Fast, powerful guitars, angry vocals with a harsh quality to them, pounding punk drum beats, and lots of political and personal vocals. These guys haven’t changed their system one iota since starting out, but they have grown tighter and more clean in their music. This one is probably their most mature recording, and you know you’re going to like them if you’ve liked them before, so that’s always a plus.

There’s an interesting mix of styles here. “Fast One” starts off with more of a hardcore power feel, while “Taken” contradicts it by coming across as more of a pop-punk song with a great bass line. And then “n30” is all out power punk, with chopping guitar riffs and powerful, shouted vocals. Now that you’ve got a feel for Avail in the first three songs, repeat styles intermittently. “New Song” is one of the best punk songs I’ve heard this year, with all the right elements in place, just played so perfectly and with such great chorus vocals that I have to get into it. “Invisible” is about as all-out power punk as these guys get, while “Union,” with its killer bass line, is much more of a poppy flavor of punk, much more Fat Wreck style. I really find myself getting into “C.Days,” a great punk song that just has a lot of energy without getting to fast and crazy for its own good. And the bass here, as on most of this album, is awesome. And it flows right into “Bell,” which again reminds me of Hot Water Music, an excellent comparison and an almost anthemic track. And they finish up with “Leather,” a fast punk song (man, I hate punk drumming, it’s always so unoriginal) and their nod to VA, “Old Dominion,” which is a bit poppier but has lots of attitude. And the chorus is damn cool.

No, not much of a surprise here. Avail is doing what Avail has always done, playing loud and fast punk rock with bits of melody and hardcore sprinkled here and there. It’s not the most unique style, and I’m not the biggest fan of punk music. But, frankly, they’ve always done it well, and they are one of the few all-out punk bands that I actually enjoy. Powerful, fast, rocking stuff that changes up just enough to keep me interested, that’s Avail. And that’s why this is probably their best album yet.