Review: Downway / Belvedere

Downway / Belvedere
“Split: Hometown Advantage”
(Sessions / Union Group)

Ah, Canadians.  What would the world be without them?  Well, probably pretty much the same as it is now, save for these two exceptional punk bands.  The first five tracks on “Hometown Advantage” come to us from Calgary’s own Downway.  Downway’s blistering tracks feature metallic tinged punk in the vein of Diesel Boy, only without the constant joking and tongue-in-cheekness.  There isn’t any emo in their core and there ain’t no tough-guy machismo in their breakdowns and that’s fine with me.  Downway is for real.

Belvedere brings up the caboose with the final five songs, hammering their way through a few of the better melodic punk tracks around.  Steve Rawles’ vocals are just as full as ever, floating above and below the controlled chaos and frenzied tempo of the music.  With the lone exception of the drummer, everyone in Belvedere lends backing vocals, allowing for wrenching harmonies to emerge from within their multi-layered sound.  If you like Propaghandi and haven’t heard Belvedere then you need to get off your ass and check them out.  The best split since Matt Skiba and Kevin Seconds’ effort a while back.