Record review: Army of Champions – Animal Versus Man (2012, LP)

This debut release from Brisbane five-piece Army Of Champions has all the ingredients of a first-rate punk record: high energy, angry guitar, and venomous vocals. But there’s so much more to like on show here. With a world-weary vocal style somewhere between Paul Westerberg and Shane MacGowan, singer Matt Hoara’s delivery is full of melody and soul, and his band’s songs are a varied mix, underwritten with a solid punk-rock backbone. They’re not averse to a guitar solo on single ‘Shake Out The Moan’, or a spot of balladry on ‘Just A Little Time’, and there’s even a touch of sax on opener ‘Before We’re Bones’. Punk albums often cross the fine line between brilliant and boneheaded, but Army Of Champions have filled theirs with nothing but intelligent and catchy rock songs. (Arrest Records Australia)

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