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We Ride to Fight! (The First Four Years)

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Album Review

Subtitled "The First Four Years," We Ride to Fight! gathers all the early singles, EPs, and compilation tracks that emo/post-hardcore quartet Planes Mistaken for Stars released between 1999 and 2003. At 24 songs on one CD or two LPs, We Ride to Fight! is both exhaustive and somewhat exhausting: in a style where full albums often sprint past at seven or eight songs in around a quarter of an hour, two dozen fundamentally identical songs can be a bit much. At this point in their careers, the Peoria-based outfit (which later resettled in Denver) focused more on the hardcore side of its personality: short sharp shocks like the minute-long blast "The Time It Took" outnumber more expansive tracks like "Where the Arrow Went Out" and "The Past Two" more than two to one — although, to be fair, that does include the clutch of faithful covers of early Black Flag songs like "Wasted" and "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie." By the album's end, the anthemic "Thunder in the Night Forever (We Ride to Fight)" points the way to Planes Mistaken for Stars' mature sound as perfected on later albums like Mercy. Fans of those records will appreciate the convenience of We Ride to Fight! as opposed to searching for all the out of print records it gathers, but newcomers to the band might be better served by exploring Planes Mistaken for Stars' more consistent later work before catching up with their inconsistent early material.


Formed: 1997 in Peoria, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Aggressive emocore outfit Planes Mistaken for Stars formed in Peoria, Illinois, originally consisting of singer/guitarist Gared O'Donnell, guitarist Matt Bellinger, bassist Aaron Wise, and drummer Mike Ricketts. Upon signing to Deep Elm, the group made its recorded debut in early 1999 on the label compilation The Emo Diaries, Vol. 3: Moment of Truth. The label reissued a self-titled EP later that year, originally self-released in 1998. Wise was replaced by bassist Jamie Drier (who had previously...
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