Acceptance | Black Lines to Battlefields (The Militia Group)

I don’t know how likely a second album is, but Black Lines to Battlefields is definitely worth owning, even if you’re not a Christian. Or an emosexual.


Acceptance is a spunky little emo outfit out of Seattle consisting of singer Jason Vena, guitarists Kaylan Cloyd and Christian McAlhaney, bassist Ryan Zwiefelhofer, and drummer Nick Radovanovic. Aside from the mouthful-of-consonant names, nothing would seem to point to anything sinister about this band…save for the fact that Black Lines to Battlefields is a CD Extra that, when inserted into a computer, reveals a video of their newest single “Permanent.” This band looks as if some devious record executive in Artist Development handpicked the members from an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog; every good-looking, freshly scrubbed member of this band appears to have just stepped away from a wholesome, alcohol-free pep rally in a small town for a few hours to shoot the video. Further investigation finds numerous thanks to Jesus and God, thanks to families for their prayers, and positive themes in their lyrical content. Is this a Christian emo band?

Now, I’m a well-known, out-of-the-closet emosexual, but I had to balk at what I first saw from this band. I mean, gone was the scruffy nastiness, the “I’ve been to the bathroom 50 times without changing my pants or underwear” look; no one even seems tired, drunk, or—Goddammit—sad anywhere in the video or liner notes. What the hell is one to think? These guys look like fucking Hanson sounds.

After my initial visual shock began to wear off, the actual song began insinuating itself into my ears, and it wasn’t half bad. Hell, it was good! Shades of Taking Back Sunday, Funeral for a Friend, and The Get Up Kids with strong pop sensibility. Looks aside, these guys can actually play! “Permanent,” the leading song and title track, is right up there with the best of The Juliana Theory or OK Go, and as the sticker on the CD’s jewel case says, is featured in the soundtrack of the game ATV 3 Off Road Fury. It’s definitely radio-friendly, hooky enough to catch your attention, and reminiscent of some of the more recent Jimmy Eat World releases. The second song, “Seeing Is Believing,” is destined to be the soundtrack of a million heartbroken teenagers waiting to get un-grounded, with its sugar-sweet, razor-sharp “I miss you” chorus tapping right into the teenage id.

The album closes with two live tracks, “This Is Only a Test” and “ReRun,” which display the band as a formidable live machine; if it weren’t for the crowd noises from time to time (mostly young-sounding females, I might add) I’d have thought these were studio tracks produced in rawer fashion.

Acceptance seems to be poised right on the cusp of emo superstardom, at least for the under-25 crowd. While the lyrical content lacks a bit of depth, the overall sonic picture is easily as developed as any of the superstars-of-the-month this genre seems currently clotted with. I don’t know how likely a second album is, but Black Lines to Battlefields is definitely worth owning, even if you’re not a Christian. Or an emosexual.

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