Review Summary: Your cookie-cutter pop-rock handled by those with some experience in the game
It’s no secret that “Terrible Things” is a horrible name for a pop-rock band like this, as well as this band’s first album. Not only are these guys seemingly trying to instill a sense of self-created irony amongst their audience by implying, indirectly, that their music is anything but terrible
, on the forefront they are not even taking themselves, their scene, and you, their listeners, seriously at all. This is odd, and in another sense is quite ironic, actually, because Terrible Things’ music does in fact try its best, and sometimes even succeeds, at being totally serious.
Now, a reference to three random guys playing dime-a-dozen pop-rock-ish-pop-punk might cause you to not take this Wester Chester group seriously - and I wouldn’t blame you (as neither would I). But surely if I mention the fact that ex-members from a few notable and popular bands such as Coheed and Cambria
(Josh Eppard), Taking Back Sunday
(Fred Mascherino), and Hot Rod Circuit
(Andy Jackson) comprise Terrible Things’ band roster, you might surely change your minds.
The point is, Terrible Things have experience in this kind of pop-rock thing: you’re not going to get failed attempts at hooks and four-chord four-chordsies on their self-titled album that sound as if they were just used for the first time by the band to write and build their songs. An acoustic ballad like “Been Here Before” really sounds like vocalist and guitarist Fred Mascherino has indeed been there before – and for the record, we all know he really has, ala Taking Back Sunday
and The Color Fred
. And further, like many pop-rock bands such as this, it’s Terrible Things’ primary bread and butter, the mid-to-fast-tempo, often cliche and formulaic pop-rock songs, that also sound as if having been made by experienced crafters.
Later cut “The Hills Of Birmingham” is one such example, sporting a classic “I don’t wanna be the one to let you down
” chorus, derivative of past bands' work, sadly yes, but executed with what comes off as being the product of much practice. It’s the verses that nail it for this track, though, being led along by a drum beat and a flavorful build-up that pushes forward as a fine layer of distortion enters into the song. Terrible Things even come through with some homage to past greats on an earlier track featuring a back-up choir, “Revolution”, bringing a dragged in chorus in which vocalists Mascherino and Jackson switch roles and give us a play-by-play example of a blink-182
-Mark and Tom-esque duel delivery.
It’s very easy to write Terrible Things off as a cookie-cutter band making, well, Terrible Things
(there’s your 123 pun). But they deserve a little more recognition than that. Yes, the lyrics are clichéd and standard-fare pop-rock, and yes the four chords do indeed comprise of just four chords - but this is
pop-rock here after all, and if you want more than that, you better get your elite game on and go somewhere else. Because Terrible Things play strictly by the rules of the game on their self-titled, and most importantly, they play the rules with control and experience, a winner of a combo that today’s 1,000 new Myspace band sign-ups just do not have. You can call them clichéd, and you can even call them trapped, as they do deserve the tags – but Terrible Things’ Terrible Things
is anything but terrible: it’s actually pretty good.