Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Album Reviews: Flashback

i've been listening to some great music lately, so i thought i'd do a few reviews. The most recent albums released bring me back to high school times, Pennywise, Millencolin and No Use For a Name haven't changed their sounds at all really, and they're still pumping out albums like crazy. as skate-punk becomes extinct these guys are still producing at a high-level, and i love it!

Pennywise - Reason to Believe

I never know what to think about Pennywise. They were one of the first punk bands i listened to, back before Full Circle and i loved them. a lot of people in the punk circles don't like them, called them sellouts and jock-rock but here we are, like 15 years later and they've never sold out, they never changed their sound, and they're even giving away this album for free! this is their best release since Full Circle, its great recording and good throughout song structures. You won't be blown away by the music or the same message, but you won't be disappointed and i'm sure that on your 2nd listened you'll be singing along. some good songs would be Western Wall, Something to Live For, and All We Need.

Millencolin - Machine 15

Critics are bagging on Millencolin, saying they're starting to sound like Fallout Boy, more alternative and less punk. well maybe they haven't listened to all of the records. Millencolin had goofy keyboard pop songs on Life On A Plate and For Monkeys, they've always been goofy and this album fits right in line. I don't know how anyone would not like this album, its starts off with a great track, Machine 15 (apparently referring to how many years they've been around) and the next few tracks are catchy and energizing. The album does begin to fall-off near the end, but most Millencolin albums do that anyway. Songs like Detox and Vicious Circle are slower, but solid. Besides Kingwood, this is their best release of recent years. Good songs would be Machine 15, Done Is Done, and Turnkey Paradise.

No Use For A Name - Feel Good Record of the Year

I was really looking forward to this album. For some reason i really like NUFAN, even though their message is questionable and i'm not usually partial to bands where the lead singer plays guitar as well, takes away from the live show.

anyway, this album blasts out of the gate with energy and speed, in classic NUFAN fashion. After the first track the album starts to bug me. The music is great, absolutely fun and energetic, but the lyrics are weak. the choruses are annoying, for example, Under the Garden, the singers voice is way too nasal-y and whiny. other songs that annoy would be Domino and I Want To Be Wrong.

Also, NUFAN has a handful of slow ballad acoustic songs throughout their catalogue that are great. they seem to be trying too hard to reproduce that in this album, resulting in weak songs that just don't quite make the grade. this might be the most forgettable record they've made. Good songs would be Biggest Lie and Pacific Standard Time.

Dave Barnes - Me & You & the World

Wow, another great record by Dave Barnes. I wasn't sure about how this one was going to be, after Chasing Mississippi (which i felt was a step-back from his first release), but i was pleasantly surprised.

Dave starts off the album with a dance/disco infused track titled Brothers and Sisters, which is awesome. i actually heard him play this track live last fall and i wasn't impressed at all, but it sounds great on the record. After he gets that dance track out of his system, its solid singer/songwriter feel for the rest of the album, including a redone version of Until You and On A Night Like This. The sound for the album seems bigger, with more horns and support in most songs. This is his first label-backed release and you can tell where the polish has been applied, but not too much to take away from Dave's feel.

I think this is an upgrade of Chasing Mississippi, with great songs like Since You Said I Do and Believe, the singing is great, solid and thoughtful. great album, i recommend it!

This is Hell - Misfortunes

I've been waiting for this record for over a year now, and it's finally here! i'm not going to go into much depth here, except to say this record is brutal! if you're into hardcore/post-hardcore/punk this is a must-have, the drumming is amazing, the singing is intense. get into it!

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