June 23rd, 2014
DON’T JUDGE ME!
As I peruse the press release, a few things popped up that should probably be mentioned here. First of all, Cartoon Network loyalists may recognize the band’s name, as it is apparently named after an episode of Regular Show. This is also a five-piece that hails from the UK. The band had wasted little time in recording material as well. According to the press release, after only twenty live shows, the studio was entered, and their first ever single Boneless was released, which appears on their debut EP Look Alive, which is what I blindly accepted to be my morning fate.
But, while I prepared for the worst with visions of prepubescent teenage Pop Punk obsession clouding the highschool hallways whining and cutting itself in the deepest recesses of my mind, what I was met with was far from as painful as I anticipated. In fact, dare I even say Look Alive is quite a tolerable release? Well, surprisingly, yes, it is.
DON’T JUDGE ME!!!
Now, bare in mind for a moment, this is all coming from someone who will pistol whip the next son of a bitch who plays “All the Small Things” in my presence and laugh jovially as I’m taken to the funny farm, where I’ll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white clothes. My reasons are just and, even though I take no shame in the things I like and never feel the need to justify the things I watch, play, and listen to, I need to. I undertook this task of my own volition, and owe it to myself I guess, as who the hell comes to this page to read my thoughts on a UK-based Pop Punk band, right?
For as much Pop exists on Look Alive, its met with a fair share of traditional modern Punk values musically. Yes, there’s the whiny clean singing common to nearly ever band in the genre, but this one has some heavier music lined with infectious hooks that can require a little more technicality at times, creating an upbeat atmosphere that is just downright fun. For example, “Cluttered Sign”. The music has a nice dose of speed and complexity outside of the slower break towards the end, and the hooks for the chorus are really addicting. Of the four, this is easily the best.
DON’T JUDGE ME!!!
“Gnarmalade” drops some of the soda pop elements to show Trash Boat does have a mildly abrasive side, which is commendable in this case. There’s also a breakdown that can make even the most anti-Pop Punk listener want to go ahead and start dancing, maybe kick up a small circle pit. Sadly, this one just doesn’t really go anywhere, basically leaving you with the sense that there could be so much more done with this under two minute composition.
But then you do have the more generic, mainstream, “Show me the money!” cuts. “Lock-In” starts off with the genre equivalent of Alternative Rock riffs on par with the early days of Incubus or At the Drive-In. It isn’t bad though, really, getting my head bobbing along at times, especially when the bass kind of took over about two minutes and twenty seconds in (for five, maybe six seconds). But, in the end, it’s still nothing that memorable, or even enough to let it pass by without hitting that skip next button. But finally there’s that lead single “Boneless”. It has a little more going on in the drums, but for the most part it’s simpler riffs with some cleaner leads meant to illicit more of a “I remember fondly of this” atmosphere that immediately sent my brain into “I remember with much hatred” as one Pop Punk band after another bombarded my long term memory like a DDos hack on Sony.
DON’T JUDGE ME FOR GOING THERE EITHER!!!
So, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Did I enjoy this EP? More than I should have, but not as much as I probably could have. I admit entirely that when the band isn’t trying to cater to radio friendly airwaves or the MTV crowd, Trash Boat can make some memorable material. In fact, after hearing “Cluttered Sign” and “Gnarmalade”, I want to hear this group move into a Post-Hardcore direction more than anything else. But, not only do I think it wouldn’t play out too well in the end, but I know it wouldn’t happen any time soon unless they change their ways before heading into the studio this January to record their new material. If you haven’t heard these guys, why not take five minutes out of your day and at least check those two songs out in particular. And, if you like what you hear, Look Alive is a “name your price” download from the group’s Bandcamp, so you can grab it and ninja edit them into a playlist for yourself and yourself alone without feeling bad about it, especially financially.
Don’t worry, I won’t be judging you if you do…
01. Cluttered Sign – 3:30
02. Boneless – 3:05
03. Gnarmalade – 1:43
04. Lock-In – 3:05