Like Crime, But With A Less Coherent Schtick: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 60
Obligatory Disclaimer: Record reviews are a tricky business. It's one thing to enjoy music, but to, like, pick out what you like about it? That being said, if I review your thing and I didn't like something, don't feel too bad. My opinion doesn't matter all that much.
Key To The Mint - A Godless Line - self-released - 11 songs - download
This is the second release from Key To The Mint, following up on their cassette from either early last year or late 2015 (I can't keep that kind of thing straight anymore, I'm too old), "Polynesian Dreams." I think this was download only, but who knows. I'll get all the name-drop comparisons out of the way real quick so that those who don't like the cut of this jib can just skip the rest of this review: New Order/Joy Division/The Smiths/Depeche Mode/The Cure. For real, the singer here (Bandcamp tells me his name is Joel Anger) is really going for a mix of Morrissey and Ian Curtis. It's very synth-heavy, though there is guitar scattered about (sometimes in some interesting places). It's very derivative. I don't mean that in a bad way, they just very plainly wear their influences on their sleeve. The album kinda started alright, started to drag for a couple songs, got interesting again, a couple more, uh, filler tracks, and then fortunately enough ended good. Up and down, ya see. I think the main thing dragging this down is the length: it's real long. Oh well, what do I know? My favorite tracks here were "Make Me Suffer" (I might even describe this one as 'intense'), "Live Yr Lie" (which is a nice peppy one after "Maudlin" lives up to its name), "Hypochondriac" (the fact that it has two parts saves it, even though it is the longest song on here– I also like when the guitar goes a bit "Marquee Moon"), "Fraud" (decent melody), and "Stand In Confidant" (which does a good job as a closing track). I don't know, man. This isn't exactly my all-time favorite genre, but I liked a decent amount of things about this. People who own every Factory release might think it's stupendous. Or maybe they'll feel the same way as me. Or maybe some other, third option. 3.5/5
Part-Time Lover - Kelly Cruise Kelly - Just Because Records - 2 songs - 7"
This is the debut vinyl release from Part-Time Lover, following up on two cassette EPs. I particularly liked "Animal, My Soul" from earlier this year, so I was happy to see that they were getting a "real" release. Side A here, "Kelly Cruise Kelly," is a good psychedelic-pop number. Good harmonies on there and a shimmery instrumental section. As with most PTL songs, it's heavily '60s-tinged. The "around, round, round" part reminds me of some Beatles song I can't quite place. Solid tune. "Shee-Ra," on the flip side, is a slower psych tune. I like the vocal melody on here. Catchy, kinda moody. The song is repetitive, but not in a way that really bothers me. And hey, it's a B side. To be completely honest, I'm more of a fan of Part-Time Lover's more upbeat, garagey material, but the two songs on here really grew on me with repeated listens. Decent record. 4/5
Pig Flayer - Life Alert - Quality Time Records - 3 songs - cassette, download
Just in case anyone thinks otherwise, I'd like to clearly state that I like Pig Flayer. I just thought that the 7" from last year was…not so hot. This new tape, on the other hand, this isn't bad. Some of the production choices I took umbrage with are fixed here, particularly regarding the vocals. "Inside Out" is a real good garage punk slop rocker. And what more needs to be said? I'm not quite sure what the message of "Old Man (New Balances)" is (Marty's vocals are still kinda low, and combined with his vocal style, all I got out of it was "old man living out of a shoe"– at least I think that's it), but it's a decent tune nonetheless. "Life Alert" is where the band really shines, though. It's a slow, repetitive groover (similar to "I Don't Like The 60's" from the 7", though done much better this time around) that just keeps going. In a good way. Aside from the improvement in vocal production, I think the vocals themselves are improved as well. I don't exactly get why you would call a song (or, indeed, a release) "Life Alert," especially if you're not even gonna work in some "I've fallen and I can't get up" lyrics, but a lot of the things that I find funny confuse other people, and I suspect that's the case with this as well. Not really a fan of the "I don't like to read books" line. Since the program repeats on both sides, I flipped this over and had another listen. First two still good gunk punk rockers– I still like "Inside Out" a little more, but "Old Man" has its moments as well. "Life Alert," as one might expect of a title track, is really the centerpiece here. It's got an interesting, thumping beat– Ricky Hamilton once again proves that he's a good drummer. Carter Luckfield holds it down on bass, kinda keeping the whole thing together in a couple places. And as a friend once said, Marty Brass shreds. It gets real chaotic, but they keep it together. There's an interesting guitar effect towards the very end that kinda sounds like a synth. Anyway, this one's a real burner. This is the one they should stick with for the slow, noisy jam. If all they did was that, it wouldn't be as cool, but hearing the two over-before-ya-know-it cuts and then the one that's twice (thrice, maybe) as long as the other two combined is a good move. What was I talking about? I don't remember. This is a good one, though. The pink cassette is a nice touch as well. 4/5
Are you a local-ish band? Do you have a record out? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send it directly to Observer headquarters: The Lakewood Observer, c/o Buzz Kompier, 14900 Detroit Avenue, Suite 205, Lakewood, OH 44107.