Record Review: Victims of Circumstance – FIVE

VICTIMS OF CIRCUMSTANCE Mine the American Punk Paradigm With New Album FIVE

Written by Abigail Smith

Ska-punk band Victims of Circumstance recently released their fifth album, which they have titled FIVE. In this album the group experiments with many sounds and a variety of genres making FIVE far from boring.

Victims of Circumstance consists of vocalist and guitarist Mike Synth, drummer Glenn Stewart, bassist Lindsey Pittard, saxophonist Jason Atheney, and trumpeter Devin Johnson. The group comes from Clearwater, Florida and has been rocking in the ska-punk scene for around fifteen years.  FIVE was released through Financial Records.

Victims of Circumstance have a very distinct sound, which sets them apart from most artists I’ve listened to. A staple in their music and sound is the use of horns or brass instruments in each song. The horns used throughout FIVE add a very interesting and unique sound that you would not typically hear in punk music. They really work to add an extra element of excitement to each track. The band also does a good job of incorporating elements from different genres throughout FIVE. I would say the album is mainly ska-punk, but there are traces of reggae, pop punk, and even a little swing sprinkled throughout.

One thing that I like about FIVE is that it touches on many topics that are much more relatable to the average person than what you might hear in music today. Throughout the album, some of the themes discussed include missed opportunities, the positives and negatives of alcohol, death, and reflecting on life. FIVE also gives off major party vibes. The album is full of upbeat, fast-paced punk songs that wouldn’t fail to liven up party. This album was made to listen to while hanging out and cracking open a cold one with the boys.

While listening to this album there were a few songs that stood out to me. The first song was the opening track “Sober”. I think this track does a pretty good job establishing the sound for the rest of the album. I enjoyed the horns used throughout. Track number six, “Obey the Rules”, is another one that caught my attention. The song has a very interesting reggae sound to it. I wouldn’t necessarily say this was one of my favorite tracks but it does a good job showcasing the diversity in genre influences on this album. My favorite track on FIVE would have to be “Involuntary”. The guitar and drums in the instrumental portion at the beginning of the song sounds like a mix of Green Day’s “American Idiot” and “Holiday” which I enjoyed. This track is definitely the closest to what I would normally listen to.

I personally am not the biggest fan of the ska-punk genre. Having said this, I want to make it clear that I did not entirely dislike FIVE. Just by listening to the album I can tell this is something that the band put a lot of work into and I can appreciate that. If you are someone who enjoys upbeat, fast-paced, ska-punk music, FIVE is definitely an album worth giving a listen.

FIVE Track Listing

1. Sober
2. Tonight We’re Getting Loud
3. The X
4. Involuntary
5. Aggravated
6. Obey the Rules
7. Enemy
8. Quit Looking for the Win (Vinnie Owes Us a Solid)
9. Never Have I Ever
10. Roll The Dice
11. The Edge
12. Ready to Go
Victims of Circumstance – Album Cover – FIVE
Photos by The Pit Magazine photographer, Winsel Photography in Omaha, Nebraska. ©2020.

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