Don't Call It a Comeback: A Look at Successful Returns to Punk & Post Hardcore

You wake up on a typical Wednesday morning, roll over and check your Instagram. Only this time, instead of being bombarded with the typical memes, and pictures of everyone's coffee and breakfast, you're hit with something else: one of your old favourites is back together, and releasing new music.

Ah, yes. You're full of equal parts anticipation and dread. This band made some of your favourite music when you were in high school. But that was years ago. Will they be just as good now, or will it be a let down? Will these 40-somethings be singing about high school problems? Will they be old and boring?

The truth is, maybe it'll be a little bit of all of the above.

In reality, a band will never be able to replicate those feelings you had when you first discovered them: that's the power of nostalgia. But it's still worth a shot, isn't it?

Sometimes bands come back, and the music they release just doesn't do it for you. But, sometimes they come back and they absolutely knock one out of the park.

Let's take Braid as an example. Before the parted ways in 1999, they had released what would go on to be viewed as some of the most influential post hardcore records, of the time. Frame & Canvas is still looked back on, to this day, as an important record. But, that was where they decided to call it quits - arguably at their peak.

Out of that we would get some other projects, including 3/4 of Braid in Hey Mercedes. In a lot of ways, the music that Hey Mercedes would go on to release, would end up sounding a lot like where Braid was heading. But it still wasn't quite Braid.

Fast forward a number of years, and Braid would start resurfacing. Playing some shows here and there, eventually putting out a split EP and a few other songs. But, it wouldn't be until the release of No Coast, that we'd see just where Braid was now heading.

No Coast is a prime example of a band disappearing for a number of years, but absolutely nailing it when they returned. This album is the perfect mix between Frame & Canvas, and what was happening in Hey Mercedes. The production value took a step up, but the songwriting took an even bigger jump. This comes from years of honing their craft, playing in other bands along the way.

What makes No Coast so good though, is that it's not 'just another Braid record'. Sure, it's full of all the elements that makes Braid, Braid. But, it also shows a natural growth in the band.

So what makes a comeback record work? A band is never going to be able to replicate what their fans experienced, when the band was at their peak. Nostalgia has a way of always winning. But, if a band can create a work that feels like a natural progression, while tapping into those elements that make them tick, they're on to something.

Another band that, more recently, hit it out of the park with a return album is The Get Up Kids with Problems. The difference here though, is that Braid left while at the top of their game, whereas The Get Up Kids had released a few albums that weren't loved quite as much as their peak.

Where these two bands stand on the same ground, however, is that their latest releases (after years of no new albums) are among their best. Both of these albums show bands who have mastered their craft, while also writing songs that speak to who they are, as people, today.

I realize that No Coast came out over 6 years ago, now...but this record still stands as an incredible comeback. Other albums worth noting, in recent years, are Short Songs For End Times by The Casket Lottery, and to an extent, Rotation & Frequency by Slick Shoes.


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