DAILY RECORD: T-Division

by | Aug 23, 2010 | MUSIC

T-DivisionA Problem For Your Solution (Self-released)

Existing on the fringes of the Richmond scene for the past two years, T-Division have not yet had the opportunity to make a name for themselves in our fair city. However, it is clear from listening to their first EP, A Problem For Your Solution, that this is not due to a lack of talent. In a town where hardcore is the dominant sound, T-Division’s angry punk rock is somewhat out of place. And yet, as this EP makes clear, they are good enough at what they do that genre classifications shouldn’t be able to keep them out of the spotlight for long.

T-DivisionA Problem For Your Solution (Self-released)

Existing on the fringes of the Richmond scene for the past two years, T-Division have not yet had the opportunity to make a name for themselves in our fair city. However, it is clear from listening to their first EP, A Problem For Your Solution, that this is not due to a lack of talent. In a town where hardcore is the dominant sound, T-Division’s angry punk rock is somewhat out of place. And yet, as this EP makes clear, they are good enough at what they do that genre classifications shouldn’t be able to keep them out of the spotlight for long.

Opening track “PBRVA” has a great title that should appeal to the dominant Richmond mindset, but it’s got a lot more to offer than just that. The early verses are driven by chunky rhythm guitar riffing and speedy drumming, but the chorus that shows up halfway through the song is catchier, driven by melodic vocals that still have plenty of gruff punk appeal. The final line of the second verse is irresistible: “Hey fuckface, welcome to Richmond!” It’s made for a drunken singalong. What really makes this song–and, to an extent, all of T-Division’s songs–work is the tightness of the band, who sound like they’ve spent years practicing constantly, honing their sound to a razor sharpness. Their production only helps in making these guys sound polished; it’s thick and solid, and the instruments combine and work together to create a good overall sound without any one element being too dominant.

“American Pocket Lint” is the only less-than-perfect song here; beginning with a half-speed intro, it requires the singer to move from his usual harshly melodic yell to a cleaner, more conventional singing voice that doesn’t really suit him. The middle section of the song returns to the fast tempos that T-Division focus on elsewhere on the EP, and things improve noticeably during this section. There’s another slowed-down section towards the end of the song, but it is driven by chugging guitar chords and a more standard vocal performance from the singer, so it doesn’t drag the way the song’s opening does. “American Pocket Lint” also features excellent socio-political lyrics about the gradual disappearance of American factory jobs. “All we manufacture here is flesh,” the singer tells us. “So let them eat their children, and let their children eat themselves.” It’s an unfortunately true commentary on vanishing employment for America’s working classes.

“And Nothing Else,” another strong, fast punk tune, also featured lyrics that caught my ear, but for an entirely different reason. The first time I heard it, the line that jumped out at me was, “Is this your country or do you just live here?” Encountering right-wing nationalism on this record would have dampened my enthusiasm for it a bit, but on repeated listens, I couldn’t tell whether that was the main thrust of the lyrics, or whether that one line was more of an isolated comment that I had perhaps taken out of context. I decided to ask the band about it over email, and got this response from singer Judah: “‘And Nothing Else’ is about being pressured to go to a shit job, and recycle, and vote, and not eat meat, and go to church…. finding it all bothersome and deciding to run with the resentment for it all. There is also a buried political statement about using positive words to inspire negativity.” I found it interesting that he felt equal pressure from society at large to both go vegetarian (an idea I associate with liberalism) and go to church (which seemed more conservative). Guitarist Scott told me that “some of our lyrics can get political, but we like to ride the line. We don’t affiliate ourselves with any particular political party or thought process. We’re open minded, yet cynical about the world around us.” While I’m not sure whether lyrics like “Fuck saving the world, that’s not my job,” or “The truth is so much clearer when all the dust settles on my mirror” (which may or may not be a drug reference) are the most positive statements, it seems that T-Division are coming from a position of questioning authority and refusing to uncritically accept any particular political theory. While I may not always agree with the conclusions they draw, I’m satisfied that they’re coming to them using critical thought processes, which is, to my mind, what punk’s supposed to be about.

A Problem For Your Solution is an excellent first effort. T-Division may not be the most original band in the world, but they play the sound they’ve chosen well, with energy and inspiration that is clear in the music they produce. Two years of relatively low-profile gigs may not have been enough to bring them fame in the local scene, but this new EP should give them some help in that regard.

Marilyn Drew Necci

Marilyn Drew Necci

Former GayRVA editor-in-chief, RVA Magazine editor for print and web. Anxiety expert, proud trans woman, happily married.




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