Review Round Up #75

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews. This edition includes The National Rifle's "Man Full of Trouble," Jake And The Jakes' "Back in Black and White," The Scene Aesthetic's "A Type & A Shadow," Apple Jackzzzzz's "Naptime's Over," and Echo Screen's "Goodbye Old Life."

Man Full of Trouble

National Rifle
“Man Full of Trouble”
(Self-Released 2009)

Seeking to break the bonds of typical music structure, the National Rifle have taken an "anything goes" approach on their latest EP. Cheap keyboards, awkward pauses and more play out over jagged, broken down rhythms. It's the band's first stab at a deconstructed style of song craft, and unfortunately it shows. While there are interesting ideas hiding in "Man Full of Trouble," it comes across more as a collection of half thought-out ideas than a cohesive record.

Sounds Like: Scattershot, artsy rock

Key Tracks: "Big Units"

C
buy it!
Back in Black and White

Jake and the Jakes
“Back in Black and White”
(Take A Sip Records 2009)

If you're gonna lean on other bands to shape your sound, at least have the good sense to borrow from the masters. Jake and the Jakes certainly do, as "Back in Black and White" takes much inspiration from "Appetite for Destruction"-era GN'R with some not-so subtle nods to early Aerosmith as well. They're loud, dirty, raucous and fun: think Buckcherry minus the production value or lyrics about blow.

Sounds Like: Punk-ish garage rawk

Key Tracks: "Nowhere"

B
A Type & A Shadow

Scene Aesthetic
“A Type & A Shadow”
(Destiny Worldwide 2009)

The Scene Aesthetic is a duo armed with shimmering acoustic guitar melodies and pop-punk with less testosterone vocal performances. The pair's music, with their "I love you and/or miss you so much it hurts" lyrical content, is aimed directly at the hearts of trembling-lipped, starry-eyed teenage girls. This is unabashed, unapologetic, absolute fluff. Oddly enough, in spite of that, "A Type & A Shadow" isn't terrible. So, if you're in high school and going out on a date, this EP could be the one for you.

Sounds Like: Acoustic heartbreakers all the way

Key Tracks: "It's A Promise, Like a Song"

B
buy it!
Naptime's Over

Apple Jackzzzzz
“Naptime's Over”
(Self-Released 2009)

This starts out with fart noises and the lyrics "Pee pee doo doo/Pee pee doo doo/Yeah," and it only gets worse from there. With crappy beats laid down by an equally crappy-sounding Casio, and the worst lyrics this side of Insane Clown Posse, "Naptime's Over" is the soundtrack to you getting dumber. If relieving one's childhood means dick and fart jokes and songs about Tamagotchis and Fruit Roll-Ups, then I'm glad I grew out of Underoos a long time ago.

Sounds Like: Comedy rap even a socially stunted 3rd grader wouldn't find amusing

Key Tracks: None of them

F
buy it!
Goodbye Old Life

Echo Screen
“Goodbye Old Life”
(ES Music 2009)

There's a fine line between wearing your heart on your sleeve and just plain embarrassing yourself. Like an emo kid who doesn't know when to stop putting on eyeliner, singer Shaune Scutellaro cakes the plaintiveness onto his nasally voice. Couple that with a few tearful anthems in the vein of Death Cab for Cutie or the All-American Rejects, and you've got a recipe for sugary emotional overload. Consult your dentist before listening to this CD.

Sounds Like: Emotionally overwrought pop cheesiness

Key Tracks: "The Ballad of Jack Shephard (Battle Chorus)"

C+
buy it!