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Fort Worth’s War Party thankfully acknowledges this on its potent sophomore effort, To Love and Fear It. Instead of mimicking the chaos of the old-school hardcore of Black Flag or Minor Threat, War Party lets the game come to them by embracing everything from Dion and the Belmonts to Gang of Four. Lead whiner Cameron Smith can’t sing worth shit, but that’s part of War Party’s derelict charm. Songs like “Chinese Handcuffs,” “Stoned Not Stupid” and “Jellyfish” incorporate interesting riffs and actual melodies into the rough and tumble roar. Even a few harmony vocals make their way into the mix as this intriguing quintet plays with the very definition of what it means to be a punk band. — DARRYL SMYERS
Originally published in Spring 2016, No. 66