Ooooh Wired. Why can't you just be stunningly original so that I can just heap praise on you, instead of analyzing you for your merits and strikes against?
        Ah well. Wired is a pop punk band out of Long Island—which, from where I'm standing, is admirable. Maybe there's a high-energy pop punk scene in New York right now that I just don't know about, but all I've heard out of Long Island recently is a steady dribble of vaguely experimental indie. In comparison with this deluge of noncommittal, low-profile hipster artists, Wired has a vibrant, traditional sound. While it may not be the wakeup-call punk album of the year, Your First Time is proud of itself in a familiar and not-unpleasant way.
        Members of Wired, while not quite seasoned veterans, all know what to do with their instruments or voice—most of them have all played before with other bands in the New York area, although Wired is the most successful project most of them have been involved with so far. Not that that's a strike against them, though; Wired's members are capable artists who know what they're doing, like what they do, attract attention, and in general present a very organized image.
        Recently signed to Gotham Records, Wired seems to be on the right track to being able to compete in the pop punk arena. Fans of Fall Out Boy, Green Day, and all the "former fans" of Blink-182 (because you're all in denial and want to pretend that they weren't a really big part of the nineties) will be attracted to Wired, for a relatively simple reason—Wired's music draws heavily from these much-loved punkish artists of recent fame. My initial impression of Your First Time was that these guys must worship Travis Barker and Tom DeLonge—except more with the Blink-182, and not so much with the Boxcar Racer; nowhere in this album does Wired branch out as much as the Blink boys did with Boxcar Racer.
        To get down to the album itself, though, you've got a solid enough piece of work. Nicely produced, strong sound with nice instrumental work—two guitars, drums, bass, and a drummer-turned-singer, in case you were wondering. While vocalist Joe Bridgwood's style is heavily derivative—very very Blink, but also occasionally (and surprisingly) reminiscent of Something Corporate (for the gentler songs)—he stays in manageable registers and decibel levels, and you can understand and enjoy what the hell he's singing—which is one thing that sets Wired apart from listed influence Fall Out Boy, anyhow.
        Lyrically, the songs don't all scream out for attention. Stock pop emotions—Regret/Heartache, Emo on Prozac, the full range of an ex-boyfriend's longing, cheerful, rocking songs about the possibility of being, dare I say it, Your First Time. However, I actually really like "Talk About", a slower, gentler (but not in a bad way at all) song about parents. Not the angsty oppressed song that most aggressively independent twenty-somethings normally write about these days, but rather a mature, startlingly resonant look back at family. With "Talk About", "One Step From A Nervous Breakdown", and "Time To Go" (an early Green Day type of song), I actually get a sense more of Everclear—sympathetic songs with a believable honesty, highlighted by powerful instrumental work that isn't over the top, and doesn't get in the way of the lyrical theme. With some of Wired's songs, the desire to make a radio hit is clear—the energy level is amped way too high, the sound is boastful, and the messages are bland and inoffensively vague. But some of Wired's songs are meaningful; well-written, tastefully composed, these songs suggest classier, less generic comparisons. For instance, while "One Shot" seems to have been written solely to be played at high school dances (albeit the cooler high schools), "Time To Go" shows a strong Goo Goo Dolls influence,  musical maturity-wise, while still being quite clearly a Wired song, reminding me favourably of more serious pop punk bands like Plain White T's.
        I can't quite recommend Wired for everyone, and not all of Your First Time is golden; the band has some good songs, yes, and a few potential pop hits (not necessarily those that I consider the good songs), but while they seem to be on a good track, they've still got a ways to go before they can really compete. I'll be interested to see, however, how the band evolves. There's potential there, and I was pleasantly surprised by some of their work. Give Wired a listen, then, and see if you like them—for myself, I'm going to wait and watch, with interest, how they progress, and see what they come out with next.
...
A.F. '06
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       YOUR FIRST TIME
       
Gotham Records

<< 1) Every Little Thing >>
2) Lately
3) One Shot
4) When You Say
5) Talk About
6) Falling
7) One Step from a Nervous Breakdown
8) Never Had a Clue
9) As You Turn Away
10) I Can't Help
11) Saturday
12) Time to Go
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