"Pezcore" was the last recording LTJ made before switching to a major label and releasing "Losing Streak," and when you listen to it, "Pezcore" seems like the natural precursor to their major label debut.
In comparison to their later stuff, this record is all about the ska, with a side order of big, juicy, rough-edged pop-punk.* That's not to say that the record is totally dominated by skank guitar and horniness, but suffice to say, theres plenty of scope for crazy dancing and jumping around like a kangaroo on speed, certainly more so than any of the albums they've given us since.
Earlier versions of "Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts" and "Jen Doesn't Like Me Anymore" (which later appeared on Losing Streak), are included, sounding quite different, which turns out to be for the best, especially*due to*the really crunchy bass sound which punctuates the lounge-jazz of the former, and the tighter instrumentals and better vocal arrangements of the latter.
Opener "Liquor Store" is a catchy little ska-fest, fuelled by the skank-guitar, bouncy basslines, and inventive horn lines.* It leads nicely into more punky "My Very Own Flag."* Despite*Chris and Roger's vocals being a little*less*refined than they went on to become, the lyrical*delivery (of*Vinnie's consistantly great lyrics) is always effective, and sometimes verging on hardcore territory, something which the band*sadly moved away from.*
Other highlights include "Black Coffee" which lives up to the its caffeinated title by never letting up on the speed and melody, "Growing Up On A Couch" which begins life as a bastardized version of Greenday's "Longview" and bursts into horn-powered mayhem and ranting against TV and apathy, and "Out Of The Crowd" which brings back the ska with a vengeance and seemingly an army of brass instruments!*
"Where In The Hell Is Mike Sinkovich?"* I don't know, but I'm sure glad he disappeared, because he inspired possibly the most unique song on the album!* It*combines the usual "leaving town" lyrics that LTJ often deal in, with bouncy ska beats, jazzy horns, gang vocals, and some nice little instrumental sections, not to mention tempo changes.
A slower, more reggae-like feeling is brought up by the opening bass hits of "3 Quartz Drunk" and is sustained til the last few bars, when the guys lose control and blast out a double speed outro to great effect.
"Boomtown" may be fairly simple, but if you ever wanted the perfect party song, this is it!* The same goes for the uncredited bonus song that pops up if you leave the last track playing a few minutes after its ended!*
The presence of 19 tracks means that the album is rather long for a ska-punk album, clocking in at around 50mins, and occasionally, the less distinctive songs can appear to blend into one another, but overall, "Pezcore" reeks of quality.* Imagine downing a bucketful of Pez and washing it down with a dozen or so bottles of cola, and you're getting close to the party-mood, hyperactive sugar-rush feeling you get when you give "Pezcore" a whirl.
+ The songs I've mentioned above.
+ Some of the finest ska-punk around.
+ That sugar-rush feeling.
+ 20*songs - that's value for money!
- 20 songs, maybe a little to many to be memorable?
- If you don't like ska, get the hell away from this... in fact, why are you even reading this?!
MY RATING -----> 4/5