In Rear-View: Puncture Wounds by City Escape Artist

When I first started Punksylvania and met bands in the Pittsburgh area, City Escape Artist kept coming up in conversation as one that I needed to check out. Imagine how thrilled that I was when

When I first started Punksylvania and met bands in the Pittsburgh area, City Escape Artist kept coming up in conversation as one that I needed to check out. Imagine how thrilled that I was when we opened up submissions for Camp Punksylvania and they came across our list. This heavy hitting, melodic, four piece consists of Dave on guitar and lead vox, Jon on drums, Trevor on guitar, and Chunk on bass. Trevor and Chunk also lend their vocals to harmonize with Dave throughout. Puncture Wounds is the third full length album by this crew and they gave me a chance to check it out before it was released to the public. I’m a huge fan of their Observe and Report and Home is Home LPs so I was more than happy to give it a listen. 

Puncture Wounds begins with an instrumental number called, “7 Beers in the Hole.” I would have immediately known this was City Escape Artist even without Dave’s distinct singing voice. It has their signature all over it and they typically introduce their albums this way. 

“Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” was the first single released with a video for this album. It’s one of my favorites and not just because there was a Camp Punksylvania Easter Egg hidden within it. Though dude! That was badass and made me happy and sad all at once…. But that’s the thing with these guys. They have a way of reaching in and pulling out feelings that you didn’t expect or want to have. Although the video illustrates this song in terms of the current state of the music industry, it really can be applied to every aspect of life. It’s not a long drop from the diamonds on the sidewalk to the dirt in the gutter and everything can change in a blink. 

About halfway through the album, we are given “Room to Breathe.” This short, slow instrumental number is exactly as the title suggests. It’s almost like a lullaby that allows you to catch your breath before “Bright Light” brings the raw intensity of the LP back up. The harmonies by these three guys are best highlighted in this chorus. The song takes you on a journey and tells a story hidden within Dave’s heavy vocals.

“Untraveled Road” has power in its lyrics and feels deeply personal. I know that there are women out there listening and feeling its message. You got this. Take the untraveled road, make your own happiness, and fuck that dude. “He don’t care.” Musically, it’s the minimalism in the beginning that really punches the value into the song. As it progresses, so does the force of the sound created.

“Love and Misery” could probably be applied to my dating life. This tune is fast and brutally honest, much like the relationships that are both lovely and miserable. Jon thunders on his kit in this one and the rest of the crew somehow manages to keep time.  And have I mentioned how harmonious these guys are yet? Cos the ending gave me chills. 

Another heavy hitter is the emotional, “Fractured Pieces.” Over the last couple of years, my life has drastically changed. So to say that I connected with this song is an understatement. “Tell me why. Everything is falling to pieces right before my eyes.” Check out this musical bridge….

“Going Nowhere” brings us to the close of this full length. Boldly honest, Dave hits a higher vocal range than his typical and nails it. The catchy chorus touches my gutter punk, zero fucks given soul. “I know that I’m going nowhere and that’s just fine.” This year has been a dumpster fire for so many of us, so feel free to sing along. 

City Escape Artist has always been super tight technically so this allowed them to explore a bit more creatively, in my opinion. I equate “Puncture Wounds” to F2F’s “Ignorance is Bliss” album. While not completely abandoning the solid sound that is unique to them, this LP dripped with passion, talent, and artistry. I had a really hard time reviewing it honestly. Usually there are a handful of songs that speak to me and that’s how I chose. My list kept changing with every listen and that alone speaks volumes to the quality of their music. Give these guys a follow on Facebook and IG. Then head to Bandcamp to buy this album. You won’t regret it!!!

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