Every time a band releases a new album, their fans will expect it to be different from their last album and releases before that; they may be disappointed if bands release the same album time after time. In short bands are expected to constantly be changing a little, if not reinventing themselves completely. This change
that bands are expected to make usually concerns the musical nature of the album, but in the case of Bomb the Music Industry! and this, their new album 'Get Warmer', the most noticeable change is that they are releasing it through Mike Park's Asian Man Records, as well allowing people to download it from Quote Unquote Records. This is a big
change. Perhaps the biggest band on one of, if not, the only true DIY labels out there today has moved to a label that distributes albums physically - not virtually. This will benefit the band financially as people will start paying for their albums for a change, and being on a label that has at times hosted relatively huge acts such as Alkaline Trio and Big D & The Kids Table will draw a lot more people's attention to them. This move has also evidently benefitted the album itself. With a larger budget and better production quality 'Get Warmer' plays with a new found clarity that was absent on their last three albums.
Label politics aside, what really matters about an album is the quality of the music itself. They more-or-less continue the unfortunate trend of having poor album openers with 'Jobs Schmobs'
. Starting off with an overly long guitar and vocal intro that is so distorted that the lyrics become almost inaudible, when the distortion is turned down it sounds great, especially with the horn section. The use of the horn section seems to be something that they have embraced more on the album as it is overall more ska than punk. While the album opener is very frantic ska-punk, there are also more laid back ska songs such as 'No Rest For The Whiny'
. Well, at least it starts out more laid back, before giving way to an enjoyably frantic chorus and excellent saxophone solo. The next song '25 Hour Goddamn Telethon'
is another more laid back ska. The thin texture and laid back nature of the instruments, despite the fact that the bass is walking all over the place and the drums won't have been laid back to play, compliments Jeff Rosenstock's never-pause-for-breath vocal style. Excellent splatterings of ska are found all over the album, with twangy guitars and upbeat horn sections.
With the newly available production quality on Asian Man Records, their frantic punk sound has been toned down in favour of the aforementioned ska songs and songs that are still essentially punk, but are far more restrained than songs on previous albums. You may have heard '493 Ruth'
, a song that has been on their myspace for a while now; a song that is just one example of the restraint that has been placed on their music. It's chorus may be loud and raucous, but doesn't reach the energy levels of songs already released. The verse in particular has been toned down even more, and the song is only really saved by the great bass work in it. The bass throughout the album is great, it is always audible and clear, and often plays great bass lines and is generally overactive.
The fact that the music's energy is restrained has hndered the quality of some songs, such as '493 Ruth'
, but in most cases this is a good thing - especially in the more blues-influenced songs. 'I Don't Love You Anymore'
is a blues influenced song, and a very good one at that, even if if it lacks originality (the main riff is stolen from 'You Got What It Takes' by The Dave Clark Five). The song itself is very bluesy and upbeat, before becoming more frantic near the end. There is a drum solo (of sorts) towards the song's conclusion, that while isn't the most complex, still sounds great. Live drums is also a new feature to the album, whereas before they have been played by a drum machine or electric kit. 'Unlimited Breadsticks...'
is one of BtMI!'s folk songs but includes a bluesy snyth riff that adds an interesting twist to 'country' music. Jeff's ragged vocals along with the chorus' gang vocals contrast the laid back music, once again; maybe this is what makes the bands 'folk' songs such a success.
Clocking in at 6 minutes and 52 seconds, there is no denying that the title track had the potential to be Bomb the Music Industry!'s most ambitious song, but instead it is disappointingly one-dimensional, and could be described as nearly
epic. They largely stick to what they know - largely solo acoustic folk and then building into a thicker textured section of punk. While they do manage to fill the time very well indeed, and it is a very good song, you can't help but feel that they could have done more with such a long song duration. They sould have stopped the album right there, with one of the stronger tracks on the album and the longest song they have ever recorded, but instead they decide to stick on a very short (too short) acoustic song at the end. 'The Last Party'
is just over a minute long, and therefore has very little time to do anything noteworthy, and unsurprisingly it doesn't do much at all.
Despite the disappointing end to the album, Bomb the Music Industry!'s first physical release is very strong and worthy of this particluar milestone in their career. The album as a whole is much less chaotic than previous albums, and in most cases this is a good thing, as the ska, folk and blues-influenced songs are the strongest here, while the more aggressive, punk songs will have to settle for second place. In the past BtMI! have excelled most when creating high energy punk songs, 'Get Warmer' is an album where there are very few of these, but the album is still very good. This shows how well the band can change, and you get the feeling that although they will never, ever be the biggest punk band in the world, their newfound home on Asian Man Records could be the platform to take them to the next level, one that they will undoubtedly do well at.