Race is a Polyvinyl Records compilation of Kerosene 454's first LP and "flurry of 45's" (Yancey Strickler, Allmusic). That LP, Situation at Hand, is one of my favourite albums in the melodic hardcore/emocore/post-hardcore genre. Boy, that sounded stupid. Let's try again: Kerosene 454 are another heavy guitar band which incorporated a lot of emotion into their songs - and they sound, funnily enough, more like Fuel than Fugazi.
This was one of my earlier discoveries of 'emo' - again, a broad description; sometimes codenamed '90s hardcore', but we know what they mean to say - and I found it on eMusic, although I may have read about it on Epitonic first. The best explanation, however, was on fourfa - that's where the 'emocore' bit comes from. Situation at Hand is listed as one of the top emocore records, along with early releases from Fugazi, Jawbreaker, Hot Water Music, Lifetime, etc. His description of the album has this one absolutely perfect line: "these are all sweet pop songs made impossibly heavy by the crushing weight of the loudest guitars ever recorded". Kerosene 454 is all about the guitar sound, which almost defies description.
At the same time, Kerosene 454 play reasonably straightforward rock songs - albeit layered and twisted into a frenzy of emotion - so that I can imagine almost anybody into modern post-hardcore liking them. The opening riffs of 'Greener', for example, are just as catchy as Leatherface's 'Andy' or Dinosaur Jr.'s 'Almost Ready', and they'll melt your heart as soon as you hear them. The songs are never that smooth - and interestingly, Kerosene 454 go in for quite a bit of ambient guitar noise - but they've got an undeniable rugged charm. Especially the pounding drums - the addition of Darren Zentek as drummer for this album was especially fortuitous. Kerosene 454 is what melodic hardcore should be about - pop songs made impossibly heavy, and loud guitars made incomprehensibly sweet.
Situation at Hand (Art Monk Construction, 1995) "A temple to the DC octave-chord noisy over-distorted SG/Marshall guitar. This is the guitar sound bands dream about. These are all sweet pop songs made impossibly heavy by the crushing weight of the loudest guitars ever recorded." (Andy Radin, fourfa.com)
flurry of 45's
(The two covers above are thanks to spliedt; the folder has 'Two For Fliching' and 'Blown Clean', plus the single 'Down in Three' wrongly marked because I didn't realise it was a separate release)