Split System: Vol. II [Album Review]

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Split System
Vol. II
Goner/Drunken Sailor/Legless Records [2024]

The Fire Note headphone approved


Album Overview: With members of the killer Australian garage punks Stiff Richards and Speed Week among their number, not to mention singer Jackson Reid Briggs (which has some great solo albums as well), Split System returns with a punch for their sophomore album Vol. II. The record features eleven songs that showcase the band’s high voltage back to the basics punk style. Mixed and mastered in Melbourne’s Rolling Stock Studios, Vol. II continues the band’s energetic and raw sound, delivering a blast of in your face simple punk with classic rock hooks.

Musical Style: Split System’s music can only be characterized as high-energy punk with many elements of early (like from the beginning) street and hardcore punk. Their sound is raw, muscular, and relentless, driven by Briggs weathered vocal, catchy guitar hooks, roaring bass lines, and dynamic drumming.

Evolution of Sound: With Vol. II, Split System expands on the sound established in their debut album. They maintain their energetic punk rock roots while experimenting with diverse tracks that demonstrate growth in songwriting and sonic landscape. The album showcases their evolution as a band with tighter arrangements and an even more polished production while sounding like you are witnessing them live somewhere in a basement!

Artists with Similar Fire: Fans of other Australian bands like Cutters, The Chats, Pist Idiots and C.O.F.F.I.N will find familiarity and enjoyment in Split System’s music while finding their classic sound coming out comparable to The Saints and Radio Birdman. Their high-energy, unapologetic punk rock style aligns with these contemporaries while maintaining a distinctive Australian flair.

Pivotal Tracks: “The Wheel” starts the fire right with its speed riff that instantly will lock you in. Briggs then belts out the vocals with systematic focus with some call outs near the end. “Alone Again” is a mid-tempo single with guitar hooks reminiscent of The Strokes, showcasing Split System’s ability to craft catchy melodies within their punk rock framework. “The Drain” is a true moody post-punk tune featuring a memorable bass line, demonstrating the band’s versatility and dynamic range. “The Blues” has this great guitar solo and a “You’ve got the blues, I’ve got the blues” call out that had me hitting replay.

Lyrical Strength: Split System’s lyrics reflect themes of the life we know and its everyday struggles. Grittiness of urban life and pushing through with attitude exists on every track here. While their focus is on energetic performances and infectious hooks, their lyrics add depth and authenticity to their music, that should resonate with fans of punk rock everywhere.

Jackson Reid Briggs & The Heaters: Waiting In A Corner (2021) / Stiff Richards: State Of Mind (2020)

Bandcamp | Goner Records | Drunken Sailor Records | Legless Records

Christopher Anthony
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