The album’s greatest strength is its consistent, passionate, fun delivery from the single electric guitar. The guitar was used quite well, giving nice emotional drive and a gritty yet simplistic sound from its amplification. This laid the foundation for the musical attitude to come alive, being that of punk and carefree, not taking “no” for an answer, etc. The chorus power chords, the quick tempos, the vocal flexibility and the simple clear textures delivered the rebellious mood quite well, taking an obvious influence from past punk rock generations. While the guitar playing was great, I thought there were times when the overall dynamic could have notched higher for longer periods of time instead of always dialing it down for the song’s A section. Sure, dynamic builds to the B section are nice, but they seemed a little forced and stopped some fun momentum at unnecessary times. These songs either didn’t need to be so tied down to a verse-chorus form, or textures should been kept even simpler and more emotionally driven and direct. The overall sound was still quite riveting at times. While that was the case, what should have been the most crucial musical element ended up falling short too many times, which was the melody. In this barebones structure designed to mimic basic emotions, melody plays a huge role as to whether or not the music carries purpose and weight beyond a single dimension. This album had a couple of songs, “Hey Heartbreaker” and “Act My Age”, with important, energetic melodic shapes that really did excite and enhance everything around it. I didn’t get those same interesting repeated motives in any other song, where the melodies weren’t very pivotal and either skated along without much shape or had a few repeated lines that didn’t use the harmony to an advantage and distracted a bit from the overall emotional direction. Songs like “Somebody” and “Spend the Night” would’ve done better had those repeated motives been more connected or creative. The guitar sometimes went to waste a bit by emphasizing an uninteresting line. Nothing was drastically out of place, though, and the songs still had a good dose of tunefulness. The harmonic language was pretty strong overall, especially for the rather simple, punk fueled atmosphere where I, IV and V chords could have easily been the whole thing. I liked the use of borrowed chords such as bIII and bVII, and I also enjoyed the patterns that were formed from the more basic chords. This kind of atmosphere is really where basic harmonic structures can thrive the most. However, going back to the incessant verse-chorus form, I don’t think the harmonies were organized very well for the songs to reach their full potential. The choruses mostly had the lively, interesting harmonic progression, and were where most of the creative harmonic colors came from. The verses, though, were simply too harmonically stagnant and lacked a lot of purposeful background movement. Again, I think the chorus energy and technique should have continued through in these songs. It was still a fun listen, and there were some nice standout chorus moments. This album was several strong melodic hooks away from being a truly important and memorable experience, but I’d still recommend it to any punk rock fan that isn’t too picky.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.