Somewhere In America
Fearless Records, 2001
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/10/2001
Fearless Records is a punk label from Westminster, CA, and their bands, nine out of 10 times, kick butt. Bigwig, 30 Foot Fall, Drunk in Public, Strung Out, and now, with their second release, Dynamite Boy, play various forms of the same form of punk: straight-ahead guitar riffs with bombastic drums and rumbling bass that cohere in magical music. This CD put me in the mood for Drunk in Public's Tapped Out and 30 Foot Fall's Divided We Stand. (Can you guess what two CDs I plan to review in the not too distant future?)
"Catching On" kicks Somewhere In America off with a good template for future songs. Interesting riffs in that song and the next two, "Kaleidoscope" and "No Way Out," keep the momentum flowing like a waterfall.
Only the band never hits the water: they are suspended in mid-air, cranking out poppy punk.
Dynamite Boy's charm is the straight-ahead vocals of Sean (guitar, vocals), Adrian (bass, backup vocals), and Danny (guitar, backup vocals) when they are rocking their way through the pop melody of "AV99," an early contender for best song. The guitar solo on "AV99" is brief but well-constructed. Though I don't know why the song is called "AV99" when the lyrics would suggest it be called "Since You've Been Gone."
The track after that, "Last Chance," pleases this old balls-out punk fan. Up-tempo and short (just over three minutes), the song is cohesive and lets Sean build his lyrics upon the backups of Adrian and Danny.
If I had to really compare this band to another band, I guess I could be cliche and say the Green Day single "When I Come Around" comes to mind. Like that song, Dynamite Boy have found a way to write memorable riffs and the lyrics. What?!? I didn't mention the lyrics?!?
The lyrics to "AV99" go like this: "Since you've been gone / I haven't done anything at all / I feel so alone / I drove onto another dead end road / Everything is boring, I feel worthless." Gee, how does the speaker feel about the subject they are writing about?
"Last Chance" documents an equally intriguing relationship: "I'm tired of you / Forbidden fruit is sweeter / But I'm too scared to end it / What can I do, that's how it goes / Marks on the floor / A bridge better left burning."
"Lullaby" is another strong riff, though it does sound vaguely familiar. Couldn't think of who it sounds like though. "Paper Hearts" is an acoustic number and offers a new dimension of the band. The vocals harmonize nicely with each other.
In conclusion, it's been a while since I've heard a good punk band. Instead of bands like Dynamite Boy, it seems like I keep getting crap like Leatherface or Hotwatermusic, with stuffy English/Sex Pistol snobby vocals and boring guitar riffs. In that regard, Dynamite Boy is a breath of fresh air.