I had been hearing about the Off The Board: A Studio 4 Family Compilation for a while, and hyped it up in my head. Will Yip, a Philadelphia producer and engineer who has worked with a variety of bands from The Fray to Cold World to Disco Biscuits decided to create a compilation to reflect his career, both what he accomplished so far and where it is going. Yip has stated that his reasoning behind making this comp is not only that it represents his career, but that he wants to “give the punk, hardcore, and alternative community of awesome bands a home”. And I always love some hometown (or home state) representation, almost half of these bands are from PA.
Recorded, mixed, and mastered at Studio 4 in Conshohocken, PA by Yip, these tracks feel organic to this compilation. Most of the bands on this comp exist in the grey area of punk where the subgerene of pop, hardcore, and emo overlap. Those bands that don’t fall into that grey area, embody at least one or two of those subgenre elements. Yip accomplishes something difficult here, he collects diverse bands, embraces their diversity, yet gives the comp an overall sense of cohesiveness.
My two favorite tracks on this comp are Title Fight’s Another One and None More Black’s That Thing That Separates Em. Title Fight kicks off the record with the passion, fury, and strained vocals that we love from them. None More Black have infused their token melodic hardcore with some metal and some rock and roll to create a track that is just stellar.
Also noteworthy are: Daylight’s Siblings. This track took me by surprise, it is one of the more unique tracks on the album, leaning more towards alternative. It is slow and heavy and can’t help making you think about Nirvana. Citizen’s Cicuta is a dark almost haunting track that seeps inside you. Sainthood Reps’ Gloom is a catchy hardcore embodiment of apathetic adolescence. Koji’s Breaking and Broken has a cool indie/alternative sound with vocals that are totally mesmerizing, oh yeah, and the chorus has a killer hook.
So, kudos to Will Yip on an awesome comp, if you dig any of these bands, check it out because the profits from this album go towards his down payment on owning part of Studio 4 and making more great punk rock.