Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Album Review - Something Fierce Don't Be So Cruel

This review is part of the "Over Flow" Review Series. For various reasons these past reviews were not published anywhere else. I am tagging them as Overflow Reviews and may add some extra information after if needed but I will keep the ratings and reviews just as I originally wrote them. Enjoy:
Something Fierce
Don’t Be So Cruel
**and1/2 out of *****

Certain bands you instantly know who their hero’s are.  It took about 5 seconds to realize Something Fierce are massive Clash fans and they proclaim that over and over again throughout their album Don’t Be So Cruel. More stripped down then their hero's this Houston, Texas trio uses a prominent bass and power-pop/punk styling to bop into your speakers.

There are clear distinctions in production between instruments with the scratching guitars chick-chicking along playing an obvious 2nd to the constant round clear bass lines while the vocals can sound distant and a bit distorted in front of cymbal rides.  “Future Punks” takes this formula and ties it neatly with a poppy bow and “When You Hurt” speeds it up adding fluttering vocals and a 50’s vibe to things. Things never get fierce at all; this is sweet power/pop that gets the head bobbing, “Bad Choice” is the most aggressive offering but still contains a radio friendly progression and guitar solo.  “On the Backroads” is a quick speedster that lets the band dabble with some organ sounds which catch the ear and "Empty Screens" pushes the envelope into an arena/single territory with some big breaks and riffs.   

“Afganhi Sands” and “Before You Raised Your Gun” continue to channel “the only band that matters” as a sprinkling of politics is added to the hand claps and low end runs. Summing up their style and sound is  “What We Need Now”, a grooving exercise that ends with the repeating chorus that “what we need now/ain’t coming today” but you get the sense this band won’t stop looking for what they need.


Judging Books by covers...never do it.  I was dam tooting positive I was about to hear some freaky noise punk when I looked at this album cover before sliding the disk into my wrong I was.  Something Fierce is straight up Power-Pop, I know they have the punk label on them and float in those circles, but this collection of songs is too catchy to really be punk-rock, granted the songs are short and to the point (a plus) but that aggression is never really felt.  What are labels though?  The tunes are good, catchy and fun, if a bit one note throughout the full album but it is repeatably listenable and engaging.

Here is where I am going to lose people though...I mentioned multiple times in the original review the obvious influence here is The Clash...and I was never really into those guys...never have been, ain't now...

(Ducks rotten fruit being tossed at computer screen)

Maybe it was being submerged in Hardcore/Punk first without going through the pop stage, but I skipped over The Clash and went right to Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Black Flag etc on the national scene and local friends bands playing metal/punk in the NYHC style. 

To me that was raw and urgent...animalistic and dangerous, I never got that with The Clash.  When it comes to "original" punk groups I butter my biscuits with The Ramones, you may disagree but using them as the "radio friendly punks" and the NYHC and others mentioned as the more immediate "punch-someone-in-the-face-I-need-a-release" punk I think I turned out OK.  All right this conversation can go on and on and probably will this week in a bar somewhere, but lets not take away from the group reviewed.  Peep Something Fierce below, and grab their shizz here:

"Afganhi Sands"

"Empty Screens"
"Future Punks"

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