Review Summary: Fun, fast and simmering with unbridled melody, None More Black's sophomore album is a wonderful addition to fans of the genre and fans of catchy, upbeat music that scrapes the surface of both pop music and punk rock
Chinese food last night. And like most North American residents have come to realize, the food itself seemed foreign and exciting, while being both convenient and cheap. Yes, though it is greasy and simmering with various oils and hard-to-identify meats and veggies, Chinese food has it all. Case in point: the fortune cookie. Nothing tops off a festival of grease and artery-clogging goodness with words of wisdom from a stale piece of plasticy...dough, I guess. Now I'm sure you're all asking, "Why, Two-Headed Boy, what on Earth did your
fortune cookie say?!".
Words should be weighted, not counted.
It’s that particular statement that influenced me to begin a review with a rather confusing, odd, and all in all totally unnecessary opening paragraph. But hey, it’s what the almighty cookie wishes of me. Don’t worry I’ll try my best to bring this…thing
to a sensible turn.
Punk is a genre that is packed with messages rather than an ooey gooey paste. Punk is the fortune-cookie genre, if you will. While the crunchy and savoury cookie (in this case representing the music) is incredibly tasty, it’s no secret that it doesn’t exactly change much in taste and structure. But you never know for sure what you're going to get from the music’s messages themselves, whether a firm "Believe in yourself, kid!", a playful "Hey! She's cute!", or a mighty attack on the community at large. But whatever the bands sing about, it almost always sounds sincere and the listener, if they enjoy the genre, can relate to their rebellious, fun, and playful lyrical stature.
None More Black, with frontman Jason Shevchuk having dissolved out of one of the nineties' loudest, most obnoxious, and seminal punk bands, Kid Dynamite, are a band that have already stated their uprising messages and have moved on to more diverse topics. For example, the album has reoccurring references to the hit situation comedy Seinfeld throughout their song titles, right off the bat indicating that their unique rhythmical punk sound is one that comes in peace. Though the vocals are rough throughout the whole album and the music itself goes from pop-punk strumming and catchy hooks buried in the bass ("Under My Feet" and "With The Transit Coat On"), to unforgiving, fast-paced guitar punk fuelled with energy and adrenaline, yet still surged with a healthy sense of rhythm (The comical ode against/in support of anarchists, "You Suck! But Your Peanut Butter Is Okay", the insanely catchy opener "We Dance On The Ruins Of The Stupid Stage" and "Zing-Pong", which is perhaps where the band exhibits their style at perfect velocity for each. No matter where the band takes their style, it's always a fun and rewarding listen, seeing as the band knows their away around both extremely well.
The band, being a punk band made out of veteran hardcore freaks, knows how to keep their music interesting while not changing their pace and style not that often (see: previous paragraph). Though the band slows down somewhat frequently and quite professionally, it’s the band’s knowledge of their limits that keeps the listener intrigued at all sides of their music. “Majestic”, the slow-burning end song, and “10 Pound Jiggawatts” keeps things interesting by showing the band’s softer side without all the distortion, thundering drums and hook-infested bass lines, but instead shows the band’s soft, slow and almost country-influence side that brings just enough attitude with the vocals to still be considered punk at heart. It’s not rare when the band takes things into a slower state that the genre would consider, well, not punk in its fullest form, but it’s incredibly enjoyable nevertheless.
It’s a fun album, things never get too deep with lyrical messages (judging from the song titles alone, it’s an easy to digest and fun album lyrically), and the band has a remarkable sense of catchiness without making over-the-top dramatic, using simple techniques like mere power chord rock, rough vocals, a barrage of influences ranging from eighties hardcore to modern day pop punk, and a very useful sense of rhythm that sends them into punk rock royalty. All in all, this album is highly recommended for fans of the genre, and also conditionally recommended for fans of catchy, upbeat music that scrapes the surface of both pop music and punk rock, and creates a truly musical experience that represents both genres incredibly well. Oh, how tasty that fortune cookie is, and how intriguing the message is inside of it. It leaves a great taste in your mouth, and makes you wonder about things to come; purely enjoyable.