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| 37 EVERYWHERE
Fueled By Ramen
| So here's something fairly exciting; I got ahold of a prerelease of Punchline's new full-length, 37 Everywhere. Now, I've heard a few of Fueled By Ramen's lesser-known bands badmouthed a bit, here and there in the all-too-pretentious world of hipstertivity. The whole Antidote Apparel thing and all of the PETA plugs rub some people the wrong way, and so the bands on the label that haven't skyrocketed to immediate glory often bear the brunt of potshots at FBR as a label. Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, and Less Than Jake have all found huge cult followings amongst fans of their respective subgenres, and even lesser-known bands like The Academy Is... and Kane Hodder have quite respectable followings, so they are often excluded from ridicule... but if you're not one of those untouchable big-names, there's not always a lot of love on the scene. That said, Punchline is an FBR band that I hadn't heard before, but they most definitely are not deserving of such ridicule; true, I hadn't heard of them before this CD came along, but that is entirely my loss.
Punchline's 37 Everywhere gets me going. As an album on the whole, they've put together a great selection of catchy, fast-paced songs; this is pop-punk done skillfully and stylisly, with none of the self-indulgence of screamo, nor the self-pity of pop-punk/emo. Their music is quick, likeable, and clean-cut. The album is superbly-produced, and the instrumentals make me happy, especially alongside three out of four of the band members contributing to vocals. With listed influences including Ben Folds, The Get Up Kids, and Jeff Buckley, I can see past the whole Pittsburgh thing and see the wicked dope band beneath, for what they are, not for where they're from (And can they really help the fact that they're from a city that tried to kill my soul? No. No they cannot. And so we shall ignore their hometown for the rest of this review).
The CD has an explosive opening. Both "Don't Try This At Home" and "Flashlight" are available for preview right now on Purevolume, and really capture the best qualities of the band's style; vocals that are catchy like whoa, the lyrical sensibility of their FBR bretheren Fall Out Boy, and a willingness to abuse the pop-punk conventions in terms of instrumentals. The last part is what really gets me--I am, typically, more of a lyrical guy. A song matters nothing to me if it's thematically vapid and superficial. But what caught me about Punchline, even before the lyrics had time to sink in, is that their melodies are so distinct. Look at "The Getaway"- They mix it up with the pacing, they vary the intensity to great, well-timed effect, and they highlight it with powerful vocal accompanyment that really works; listening to this song REALLY makes me want to see them live. And content-wise... man, while "How Could You", later on in the CD, sounds much more like a "standard" pop-punk song of bitter ex-boyfriendiness, with somewhat overused sentiments and less-inspired lyrics, "The Getaway" shatters the sense that Punchline is derivative or typical, by presenting similar feelings in a much fresher, eclectic way.
"Wars Will Always Happen" is another track that pleases me; While the instrumentals are quite good, but a bit too self-indulgent to be excellent, the pace and the vocals get me. It's not just catchy; it grabs you. And a few songs later, "Exactly" ends the CD on a badass note; At first, I only listened to the final track for its interesting lyrics. But then about halfway through the song, they start changing it up, and they proceed to turn the rest of the track into a tense, explosive, combined-effort farewell. 37 Everywhere comes in by slapping you in the face with a ridiculous amount of energy, and leaves you on a note of "And don't you forget--we're really cool".
Go get 37 Everywhere. I thoroughly enjoyed the album, and was taken completely by surprise with these guys. This is good, strong pop-punk, but with very much its own signature style and feel. They are certainly going to go places, and I definitely look forward to an oppurtunity to see their amazing energy in a live performance.
2) Don't Try This At Home
<< 3) The Getaway >>
4) Green Light
5) Caller 10
6) For The Second Time
7) The Fake, The Snake,
and The Birthday Cake
8) How Could You
9) Wars Will Always Happen
10) They Are Strong Hands