Review Summary: Larry Arms and Alkaline Trio regulars moonlight in ska-folk-punk combo, and kick your ass in the process.4 of 4 thought this review was well written
It seems to me that the Chicagoan punk scene consists of the most incestuous group of bands known to man. The individuals in the bands we now know as The Alkaline Trio
, The Lawrence Arms
, and Rise Against
have almost all, at some point or another played together in various Chicago bands (most of which released their records through Mike Park
's Asian Man Records). These bands include The Killing Tree
, The Broadways
, Arma Angelus
(famously also including Fall Out Boy
's Pete Wentz), Tuesday
, and Baxter
, among others. Well, we can now add another name to this illustrious list: The Falcon
The band consists of Brendan Kelly and Neil Hennessy (of The Lawrence Arms
), Dan Andriano (of The Alkaline Trio
), and Todd Mohney (The Killing Tree
, ex-Rise Against
), although the latter doesn't appear on this recording; according to the liner notes, they "couldn't find" him. The sound they create is a mostly-upbeat, booze-fuelled amalgam of scuzzy melodic punk, Against Me
style folk-rock, and ska (albeit with the usual horns replaced by ooohs and whoas). If that sounds at first glance like a strange combination, I can wholeheartedly assure you that the band have got it down a to a science on Unicornography
, and I'm talking about the kind of science that can turn lead into gold. Yeah, it's some good shit
is a collection of 11 tracks; 9 new, and 2 re-recorded songs from the band's previous EP God Don't Make No Trash or Up Your Ass with Broken Glass
. Kicking off with the raw blast of "The Angry Cry of the Angry Pie,"
you'd be forgiven for thinking that The Falcon are a merely a Lawrence Arms
clone, until Brendan's (slightly higher-pitched than usual) gruff vocal descends into a subdued little bridge section, before the band blast back out again with the opening riff and Brendan screaming "YOU WANNA PIECE OF ME?!"
Overall, an energetic and promising start to the album.
Other highlights follow in the form of the immensely catchy commercial-radio-baiting folk-ska of "Blackout,"
the aggressive trashy punk of "The Celebutard Chronicles
attacking red-carpet culture, Unicorn Odyssey
's harmonised guitar parts and subdued melodic tones, and the almost country-esque R.L. Burnouts Inc.
. It's clear that Brendan has taken a wholly different approach to songwriting than he's displayed in his other bands, with the lyrics being much more direct, and with less of the pop-culture references he's known for. That isn't to say it's any worse, in fact it gives the album a whole different mood, and helps to further separate it from his work with The Lawrence Arms
. His and Neil's guitar parts range from semi-clean ska chords to distorted punk workouts, to slick blues licks, and other imaginative and catchy lead work, and Dan's bass parts are understated yet imaginative and perfectly suited to each and every song, rarely sticking to root notes, or the frantic runs he's known for. Neil's drums are quite simple, but he's not below throwing in a jaw-dropping fill every now and again for good measure. The production on Unicornography
is exemplary and exactly how you'd want a punk rock record to sound; raw enough to feel the energy and emotion, yet refined enough that you can hear every note and word being played and sung.
Overall, there really aren't any major bad points that I can find with the album. Yeah, it could be a bit longer, but then again, some who comes to your house party, already wrecked, gives you a hug, kicks you in the balls, drinks half your beer, and the passes out naked on the front lawn 28 minutes and 6 seconds after they arrived is better than the guest who gets there early and is sobbing to you in the corner about their relationship troubles at the end of the night, if you see what i'm getting at. Obviously, Brendan's vocal style is always going to draw comparisons to The Lawrence Arms
, but once you get past that, it's immediately apparent The Falcon
have succeeded in making an original and brilliant album, which not only fully justifies their existance as a side project, but also stands as one of the best and most overlooked releases of 2006.
The verdict -----> 4/5
The Celebutard Chronicles
The Routes We Wander