Review Summary: I now dub Lenin/McCarthy "the kegstand band".
Lenin/McCarthy is the kind of band that you have to see with a red Solo cup in your hand. Allow me to rephrase that in a slightly less abstract way…let's say it's Thursday night. Your girlfriend is bitching at you the way she always does, your roommates are bickering at each other over who ate the leftover enchiladas, and your differential equations professor just denied the validity of your impending thesis paper by verbally berating you in front of the entire class. Needless to say, you could use some sort of release. Hence, you text your buddy to see what he's up to, and within a few hours you're totally sloshed in his basement with about sixteen equally-inebriated individuals. Your left hand holds that trusty red cup, while your right fist flutters around, generally doing its own thing. Most importantly of all, you stand less than two and a half feet from a sweaty, tattooed kid with a guitar hanging ever so fittingly from his neck. Everything about this moment - the booze's expungement of your worries and troubles, the palpable sense of angst in the atmosphere, and the raw sincerity the music - is absolutely perfect.
This reminds me of the first time I saw Lenin/McCarthy
…and by that of course I mean this is exactly how it was. At that point in time, everything about this band was exactly what myself and every person in that room wanted to be hearing. The catchy but edgy guitar licks, brawny backing riffs from the bass, and relentlessly spirited drumming to hold it all together created the impression of a band that absolutely belonged in that time and place.
However, and most unfortunately, this same atmospheric energy is not exactly compacted into Art
, the trio's debut LP. While the gritty melodies and howled vocals are still present, the magical quality of the moment is essentially lost. Barely eclipsing twenty minutes in length, Art
falls victim both to its own shoddiness and to the constrictive scope of its brief play-time. At its best, the record boasts songs like "Zep Ledrin" or "Fort Awesome" that spur the listener to head-nod along and intermittently shout with the singer. At its worst, tracks such as "Bop Bop Bip" showcase stale, elementary guitar licks, choppy lyricism, and a general sense of flimsiness. As a whole, Art
cements itself as a rather forgettable listening experience, although still an album worth jamming along to in the present. The members of Lenin/McCarthy
seem to be somewhat aware of their ephemeral presence, as their band members' instrumental duties on the Quote Unquote Records site are listed as "Bassin Singin", "Drumin", and "Strumin Wailin". Although they fit the roles for a college basement party punk band almost swimmingly, the energy and tone just can't be transposed successfully into record form.
represents the product of a band that can't quite cut it without a little extra help, i.e., a basement full of hammered undergraduates. Although full of fun and impassioned songs, the album falls a little short based on both endogenous and exogenous factors alike. It is a record still worth checking out in the short run, but don't expect to see it on any best-of lists any time soon.