Review Summary: There's something for everyone. But there's expectations for more. Everyone wants to be satisfied. This band is looking directly into our glassy eyes. But sometimes you can't satisfy everybody that you love. This band sure as hell tries.
Vacation. It's treasured time by the working man. And we're expected to believe that Jeff Rosenstock―the swiss army knife of ska, self-professed-tongue-in-cheek-but-clearly-recognizable musical genius, lead-everything of The Arrogant Sons of Bitches (ASOB) (1995 to two-thousand-something) and Bomb the Music Industry! (BTMI!) (2004 to present)―is a working man. We've heard how he doesn't want to go outside because he might have a terrible day, how depression is no fun, how he doesn't want to die. How does he get anything done? How do any of us get anything done? We have the same questions, the same worries, and the same attitudes. Rosenstock just proceeds to self-diagnose with clarity and writes a prescription for a musical composition that puts on an audible clinic.
The EP Everybody That You Love
is two songs in just over seven minutes. You would quickly assume it couldn't keep you busy on a bus ride into the city except that you find yourself listening to these two songs over and over again, strumming the air guitar to the beach-ball melodies of oceanside inspiration amidst the occasional chaos and distortion demanded by punk rock purists. The title track is polarized from Matchless, Considerable Weirdness, the B48 Home (a Brooklyn bus!) because of the contrast developed by the tempo and overall musical pep, but both songs have overtones of depressingly sweet perspective on a life put to a constant test to meet expectations.
There's so much pressure on Jeff to perform to meet expectations of his own, friends, family, and fans. And those expectations have consistently ballooned because his projects have all made significant progressions in music quality (production aside, song construction has become scary-good), subject matter (we've moved on from blowing on Nintendo cartridges toward life's Hurricane Waves), and fan base (there are at least a dozen people at their shows). Instead of crumbling under the pressure―although there are clear signs he's not invincible―he channels all of his frustrations, challenges, and failed relationships from raw emotion directly to musical creativity. Rosenstock has a very talented supporting cast―a tragic misnomer because the interconnectedness of the band on stage and on the road showcases that they each contribute to each other's successes (and playful failures). It's this cohesiveness of their efforts that demonstrates why BTMI!'s release Vacation
in the summer of 2011 will be their best yet, and Everybody That You Love
is just a preview of what will be included on the album.
So I press play again, listening for the fourth time to the bittersweet metronome set by B48 on my morning jog, or while watching light poles zip past as I ride the Metro. I hear the stressed guitar melody amidst punk rock purity, the whoa-oh-ohs, and the electronic fuzz of the keyboards that has helped define their sound. There's something for everyone. But there's expectations for more. Everyone wants to be satisfied. This band is looking directly into our glassy eyes. But sometimes you can't satisfy everybody that you love. This band sure as hell tries.
Download this and the rest of BTMI!'s albums for free at http://quoteunquoterecords.com