Music » Band of the Week

The Vacancies

Tantrum (Blackheart)

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The Vacancies have plenty for the kinda-punk kids at the Warped Tour who don't know any better -- and even more for jaded vets skulking in the back. Tantrum, the band's second sorta-major release, is the kind of dense punk you just don't hear these days.

"Why do I waste my time on a stupid little thing called hope/When I'm surrounded by pollution, poverty, and theft?" snarls singer Billy Crooked on "Compound," the 49-second opener. He then adds, "I'll fuckin' tell you why." And tell you he does -- over 13 speedy tracks of focused frustration that don't just ask questions; they provide answers too. In another old-school move, the band spins cautionary tales on "Sick Modern Era," distinguishing between youth and stupidity. And tunes like "Funeral" prove that adding melody to your punk doesn't mean you need to sound like a candy-ass. They're not pretty; they're not vacant. They just care.

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