I Am The Avalanche
17 March 2014
by Gavin Lloyd
Vinnie Caruana has the sort of musical CV to put many of his peers to shame. Between emo cult icons The Movielife, hardcore side project Peace’d Out, his solo acoustic EP, and punk stalwarts I Am The Avalanche, he is one guy with a pretty impressive back catalogue of tunes. The release of a new I Am The Avalanche album in the form of Wolverines sees Caruana looking to strengthen his status as one of the best song writers in contemporary punk.
Stylistically the band’s third full length follows in the footsteps of previous effort, Avalanche United. Huge vocal melodies have always been the ace in Caruana’s pack and it comes as no surprise that this is another album full of woo-ooohs and big gang vocals supporting his raw yet irresistible choruses.
The main thing that separates this record from the band’s previous is this album’s darker side. There might not be anything as graphic as Caruana singing about himself bleeding to death as he did on the Avalanche debut, but there are plenty of gloomy references. Songs about injury, illness and death, along with references to ghosts and hell are a drastic departure from Heineken-fuelled lock-ins. Album closer ‘One Last Time’ has some of the most gut-wrenching lyrics the band have ever recorded. The lyrical simplicity of a straight to the point ballad on the subject of one’s own mortality and losing someone making that emotional connection even more tangible.
However the song has light that breaks though the darkness, in the lyrics “And now I have the strength to find my own way.” That’s the wonderful thing about this record. Wolverines has a great sense of overcoming the difficulties life throws at you. The emotional wallop that comes with it means while a song like ‘Anna Lee’ may be breaking your heart, ‘Lionheart’ will have you punching the air in triumph.
Wolverines may not carry a political punk rhetoric, but is rather about staying strong in the face of adversity on a personal level. It may not always be a listen that is full of sunshine and smiles, but hey, neither is life. Yet it is a poignant reminder that even when life is hitting you with the worst, there are reasons to keep fighting. For this reason that Wolverines is one of the most powerful and moving punk records in recent memory.
Sounds Like: The Menzingers, The Swellers, The Flatliners
Standout Tracks: The Shape I’m In, Young Kerouacs, Anna Lee