Monday, April 03, 2006

None More Black--This is Satire

If None More Black now sounds like a halfway different band than what debuted w/ File Under Black in 2003--an album that was on my constant rotation for months--perhaps it's because they are a halfway different band. Only original vocalist/guitarist Jason Shevchuck (of the legendary Kid Dynamite) and bassist Paul Delaney remain from that release. Although I think the primary songwriter remains, this band has been through so many line-up changes it's amazing they made it to a second full-length LP at all.

Produced by J. Robbins, This is Satire eschews the poppy but unabashed energy of FUB for largely mellower, mid-tempo stylings. There are even a few that have some alt-country flourishes, although some work better ("D is for Doorman") than others ("Majestic"). The other alt-countryish tune, "Who Crosses the Border Without a Shirt?", is actually one of the songs I liked best on the record. Some other highlights are "We Dance on the Ruins of the Stupid Stage" and "Under My Feet," which most closely capture the fun of the first album. I also liked a slower, "2nd single" kind of song, "10 Ton Jiggawatts," which has a hint of That Thing You Do flavor.

But there are also a couple of sure-fire misses. "I See London" is a dirgy downer right in the middle of the record (is this a J. Robbins trademark these days? see "Violence" on Against Me's Searching for a Former Clarity). And there is no excuse for a punk band (even one with a bunch of Metallica-loving metalheads as these guys) aping Poison's "Unskinny Bop" as NMB does on "Zing-Pong." Earlier this year, the riff of Don Henley's "Boys of Summer" showed up on Propagandhi's Potemkin City Limits song "A Speculative Fiction," but that seemed somehow appropriately ironic. "Zing-Pong"'s glam/funk-metal breakdown just doesn't work for me.

So, I didn't loathe it and I didn't love it, and this record may grow on me. But, my first reactions, after a couple of listens, is that I won't really be listening to it all that much.


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