In the mid-‘80s, after The Faction and before Shovelhead and Soda, renowned skater (and fellow South Bay brother) Steve Caballero joined three others to form Odd Man Out. Often described as a new wave act with hints of New Order, Odd Man Out relied on heavy chorus effects, lots of reverb and Chris Cisper’s wailing vocals to offer up a sound that was most akin to The Cult’s earliest releases.
While The Honor System features neither Steve Caballero nor relies on ethereal guitar effects, it nonetheless conveys the same spirit and essence that Caballero and Company captured with Odd Man Out. On “Rise and Run,” The Honor System replaces Cisper’s less-than-guttural vocals with Dan Hanaway’s Rollins-esque confidence, while retaining the same new wave punk guitars, semi-tribal drums and delightfully overstated bass lines that made Odd Man Out an unexpected gem.
Rolling between shocking dissonance, expectant hooks and reflective respites, The Honor System shirks the power chord to create a sound that is more structured than Primus, less quirky than Rush and thankfully not nearly as pop-oriented as early U2. The result is a 10-track effort that blends the best elements of today’s emo with yesterday’s post-new wave energy. Without question, “Rise and Run” is a bright spot in an ever-dimming loch of lackluster releases.