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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Saves the Day
Stay What You Are
Vagrant Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
I was going to write a review of a band that plays pretty standard popish punk and does a very good job, while throwing in an occasional metal-ish riff. To be honest, this is probably the twentieth review of a band like this I have done, but I was thinking these guys probably do it a little bit better than the nineteen previous entries. They just seemed to have a little something inching past the standard and playing it all so well. There is still room in this world for punk bands sticking to the formula (I admit there is not a lot of room, but there is room). However, I must admit my review of this album has been altered by of all things, a press release written to make me alter my review of the album. Except I think this press release had the opposite of its intended effect. It states that the band thinks this album might be a challenge to listeners of this band's previous albums, which in my sheltered life, I have not been exposed to. I have to say that if the musicians on this album think that is going to be a challenging record to anybody, then they may not quite be who I thought they were, even though I never really knew them. My impression, or perhaps my hope, was a band that unabashedly says "this is what you are getting, this is what we are giving -it's not complex, but it's good."

Perhaps the distorted vocals in "Nightengale" are a challenge, perhaps it's the metal-ishriffs that I referred to earlier, perhaps it's the occasional foray into the land of Built to Spill, but whatever it is that these guys though might be challenging to the listener, I just do not see. I just don't know how you could find this album challenging, unless you are referring to the challenge it takes to overcome music that is forged in a conventional way and still sounds somewhat fresh. A challenge I would say this band almost meets. Enough of my diatribe.

What this album does best is let you relax in an easy to listen to thirty-three minutes of classic pop punk that, in its finer moments, recalls the earlier days of Tacoma, Washington's Seaweed. Highlights include the intro riff to "Jukebox Breakdown," the punk band turning the lights down a little of "Nightengale," and the alternating happy riffs that meet the depressing lyrics of "Certain Tragedy."

The first three songs on this album eventually come down to the same choppy rhythm and pacing, which works in any one of the songs, but not all three. They would have done better for themselves to splice these songs throughout the album, rather than all three right off the bat. The first song starts out with the lyrics, "This song will become the anthem to your underground," which we eventually learn is spoken to a particular person probably known to the band, but to start an album out with these lyrics seems a little cocky and much too self aware.

I stand by my thoughts that this is probably the best of the twenty bands that sound like this that I have heard. These guys aren't afraid to give the old one two three four. But I balk at calling this a great album or a challenge. You don't need a couple of listens to get to like this album or pick up on its intricacies, but you will probably want to listen to it again anyway.

Reviewed by John Steinbacher
The last we heard, Steinbacher was living in Minneapolis.

See other reviews by John Steinbacher

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