Review Summary: Obviously, this wasn't a ground breaking album, but these songs can make me cry.
You know, the Midwest really sucks. Theres nothing there. Just miles and miles of bland, boring wasteland. The Midwest is, though, a great place to go to for two things: extremely flexible prostitution laws, and great Emo. Midwest Pen Pals are proof of the latter, and probably the former as well.
Inside Jokes is a testament to how good a band can get when under the terrible conditions of the Midwest. Add a bunch of kids growing up in a town in the middle of nowhere, hardcore musical talent, and a singer with Dad problems and you get Midwest Pen Pals. This album is stuffed to the brim with moving full band sing-a-longs, melodic and ever-changing guitar riffs, and extremely varied druming. Seriously, I've seen Garret play drums, and it's ****ing intimidating. The amount of rythm he displays under layers of utter fast paced chaos is amazing.
Anyways, I digress. The lyrics alone are truly moving. At one point in Movies Like Juno, Jack screams, almost sobbing:
Dad, I've got some questions.
One, where the f***k is Mom?
Two, is she ever coming home?
Three, why did she leave us?
This kid's had some heart breaks, which is evident in his music. Yes, this band often sings about parents, girls, and other teenage problems, but the way in which they do it makes these issues seem a hell of a lot less cliche. The serious anger and depression that can be heard in Jack's voice makes a listener nothing but sympathetic.
The constant changing from fast paced drum beats and hard guitar to whimpering vocals and slow, quiet guitar and drums combos has never been done better then the presented album. The transitions are fantastic, really. Usually, it's a bit jarring to switch from a slow, sad sound to a fast, hard one, but MWPP were actually able to pull it off well. You notice the change, obviously, but the sounds continues to flow, virtually uninteruppted.
Usually, I would describe this kind of sound as "mostly fun." The created sound really *would* make one want to dance, were it not for the vocals. The vocals really do have that much of an impact on the entire feel of the sound. Without Jack's harsh and troubled screams, I could happily describe these songs as, "Moveable, fun, cool sounding tracks." Alas, I am denied the pleasure. With the addition of vals, though, this collection of songs becomes what it really is: a moving, passionate, interesting, completely f***ing spectacular album.