B-Lines B-Lines

For the most part, trying to strike a balance between hardcore and pop punk is asinine; it's like trying to find the middle ground between vegan cuisine and veal sausage: you end up with some textured soy knock-off that's totally unconvincing and tastes lousy. Unless it's the mid-'80s and you're actually Hüsker Dü, the whole thrashy pop thing usually doesn't work. But guess what? Vancouver, BC's B-Lines actually pull it off! And well! Their self-titled twelve-inch features nine tracks, all under two minutes, sustaining its frantic pace from track to track, sounding poppy without sounding pop. "World War Four" shows just how much the band can get away with in 90 seconds, including a mini-guitar solo, while side-A opener "Hastings Strut" perfectly captures punk's well-worn, "less is more" ethos. At only 11 minutes, the record may feel like a bit of a rip, but you're likely to get more feverish pleasure listening to this four or five times than you would listening to any other album once. (Nominal)