In 2001, Side Walk Slam, a former MxPx and Squad 5-0 cover band, was signed to Tooth & Nail Records and released their debut album, titled Past Remains. Past Remains was the only album that lead singer, lead guitarist, and songwriter Marcuss Hall would participate in, and the end result would be one of the best punk rock albums. "Yesterday" is a solid punk rock song and gets the album off to a good start. "No Need to Apologize" follows, and while a solid song, it is not as well done as the opener. Side Walk Slam starts a trend here that carries through this album. That trend is sounding a lot like Green Day.
"Yesterday's Actions, Today's Regrets" is a song about someone struggling against having premarital sex. "Heartache" is a highlight on Past Remains even though it sounds almost identical to Green Day. "Hopes and Dreams" is the first song that mentions God, but is one of the weaker tracks on this record. "Another Day" is song about someone who does not want to hear about God. What is unique in this song is bass guitarist David Curtis screaming his lyrics in the background. "Princess" is an honest song about how the lead singer does not understand love and wants God to help him grasp it. "Not Getting Off" is a song about sticking through the tough times in a relationship and is not only one of the catchiest songs on this record, but it is also one of the best written.
The Green Day sounding "Gone With the Wind" follows and is another surprisingly well written song about starting out on a new road and not looking back at past mistakes. "Eve" is an aggressive song about a girl who led the lead singer away from God and is another highlight on this album. "I'll Be Waiting at the Southside Tracks" is another Green Day-esque track that features some of Marcuss' best vocals. "Ode to Dispossession" has some of the truest lyrics that I have ever heard on a punk song about a break up saying, "you're just a girl - there's problems bigger in this world."
"Love Letters" is a song about two people writing to each other after their summer romance is over. "Circumstances" is an aggressive punk song telling the listener not to worry about the circumstances on Earth, but about the circumstance when God's around. Lyrics like, "There is nothing in this world that I wouldn't do for you" and "my love for you grows stronger every day" is what gives "Holy Matrimony" a sweet, but never corny, feel, making it another highlight of the album.
The title track continues the trend of Green Day reminiscent songs, even though it is well done. "Everyday" is Side Walk Slam's most worshipful song on the entire record. An untitled acoustic track follows and is another highlight on this great album. Side Walk Slam has crafted a catchy and lyrically deep album that not only surpasses similar debut albums, it is on par with the best of what any punk band has ever put out. The album has the catchiness of MxPx at its best and the lyrical depth of Relient K or Switchfoot. Despite sounding almost identical to Green Day on several songs, and most of the songs being very short, Past Remains is a great album for any fan of punk music or any one new to the genre.JFH Reader Review: Review date: 1/2/09, written by James Chase Lamberth for Jesusfreakhideout.com
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