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March 6, 2008

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The third album by Jade Tree's hardcore punk band Paint it Black jumped several new stylistic hurdles, pounding out the thrill factor with its tricks and turns.
This wide array may be due to the fact that lead singer and influential scene member Dan Yemin pulled out a little bit, and as mentioned in an interview by the online zine Scene Point Blank, the band worked equally to write New Lexicon.
In all its history, Paint it Black has never ceased to get to the point, lyrically and musically. The New Lexicon tracks average three minutes and Yemin (Lifetime, Kid Dynamite) is a confident and composed leader; his vocals are spot-on and well done. The stroke survivor-gone-psychologist is potty-mouthed but full of compelling opinions that condense the "don't tread on me" and "we're in this together" attitudes.
There is something to be said for every song on this record, especially in the sense that they each include a lyrical thesis one may apply to real-world struggles. Take "New Folk Song" as an anthem for outliers in a shantytown: "We don't know who we are, but we know who we are not."
"We Will Not" features a slightly emotional outro, a fresh production element for the band, and then "Past Tense, Future Perfect" jumpstarts. This song takes the conventional raspy, fast and beefy-basslined Paint it Black sound and contrasts it with melodic chord progressions almost bubbly enough for Fall Out Boy. This chorus might be the fastest pace Paint it Black has used, but accompanied by such upbeat guitar leads, it also serves as the catchiest number.
Another key departure is how tempo is explored on this record, as many more of the tracks take a midway speed. "White Kids Dying of Hunger" morphs into a massive break down joined by long-winded lyrics, "I wish I had your faith / then I'd feel safe." Well executed and cleanly compiled, the double kick and crash is used as if they're begging listeners to groove along with them.

New Lexicon reflects a passionate attempt at diversity, delving deeper into the components of melodic hardcore, that Paint it Black had previously left alone. If such fond words and two sold-out release shows don't speak loud enough in favor of New Lexicon, turn it up to 11 and prepare for hearing loss.

--Nicole L. Browner

For fans of: Bad Religion, The Loved Ones, Kid Dynamite
Give these tracks a listen:
"We Will Not"
"New Folk Song"

Lyrics to "Beekeeper"

We are the sound and the fury.
We're what's left of the hope and the glory.
Foreshadowed by the dust in the ghost town,
and the rust of the factory shutdown.
I've got a fistful of crumbs, and a mouthful of lies.
Everyone needs a hobby. Ours is suicide.

We had all the right tools: Opposable thumbs and big brains full of useless shit.
A long history of wrong turns and dead ends brings us back to where we started again.

And I think that I'm outranked,
Outmanned, outgunned, and outflanked.
"Out of Step"? Yeah, I know what that feels like.
This contract is null and void.
We tore it up before the ink was dry.
Can I remember how to forget? Well let's hope so.
Because tonight I can't tell friend from foe.

Live fast (but don't die young).
Slow down, but never, ever stop.

The California Aggie

Nicole L. Browner