Pain (USA)
Wonderful Beef


3.0
good

Review

by Mark A. USER (51 Reviews)
July 13th, 2014 | 12 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Wonderful Beef is firmly entrenched in the genre tag it proudly wears on its sleeve, which benefits the band in some ways while hurting the end product decidedly more.

Ska has always been hit or miss for me, but much more of a miss as of late than when I was a bit younger. The bands that resonated with me were the ones that I grew up with, and it seems that the only redeeming quality that they possessed were the nostalgia that inevitably bound me to them. There was just something about that pop-punk energy and devil-may-care attitude towards being "cool" that drew me in as a younger listener. Pain embody this feeling to the nines on Wonderful Beef both lyrically and instrumentally. The formula that 90's ska/pop-punk used as a template for over ten years is here in spades, complete with self-deprecating lyrics and ample horn sections. Pain has plenty of shout-along choruses, audible bass sections, and yet still enough crunch in the guitars to place them in upper echelon of the genre; names such as Five Iron Frenzy and Less Than Jake certainly come to mind on some of the more memorable tracks.

Wonderful Beef is firmly entrenched in the genre tag it proudly wears on its sleeve, which benefits the band in some ways while hurting the end product decidedly more. The album itself just suffers from a lack of songs that highlight Pain's best qualities, which are quite honestly the more upbeat and catchy numbers. "Antidote" capitalizes on an absolutely dance-able bass lines, with a slew of horns propelling the memorable chorus. There are a few more examples of solid songwriting sprinkled throughout the album, with "Suckerpunch" boasting a much stronger guitar presence than most of the other songs. It's when Pain decides to explore with additional instruments that some of the songs suffer from cheesiness. The surprising polka flair of "Umbrella" matches a plodding pace with a horn section that sounds much stronger when the pop-punk elements are there to prop the songs up. The acoustic stylings of "The Story of the 7 Inch Cowboy" would be more interesting if it weren't for the comedic vocal approach taken by singer Dan Lord. The real issue with the release, however, is the fact that Pain can't decide whether they want to be taken seriously or if they are just having fun with their listeners. "The Bottlerocket War" is a great song in its own right, but seems a little too politically-charged when "In A Band" exists on the same release.

Ultimately this is a great listen for a fan of the genre, providing plenty of great vocal hooks and that quintessential 90's ska flavor that you can't get from new releases. For listeners that may be ambivalent towards the genre, it is a mixed bag in terms of success. It's certainly a fun and energetic listen when Pain is pumping out the more upbeat tracks, but the flaws are apparent when the band slows things down and attempts to deviate from the formula established early on. As it stands, this is a criminally overlooked band that contributed some very well-constructed releases to the ska/pop-punk movement.



Recent reviews by this author
Tiny Moving Parts Pleasant LivingClipse Hell Hath No Fury
The War on Drugs Lost in the DreamMorning Effort I heard you the first time, it just wasn't funny
Fireworks Oh, Common LifeRotten Sound Species At War
user ratings (3)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
thelastsignal
July 12th 2014


1370 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This was for the random album review game, and also the very first time that I have ever attempted to review ska. Could be a fail, but was definitely something that I wanted to give a shot. Let me know how I fared in this endeavor haha.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
July 12th 2014


13271 Comments


good words pos

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

thelastsignal
July 12th 2014


1370 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks man!

deathschool
July 12th 2014


8474 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dude, sweetness. Good review. I hate to nit pick, and it's not even a problem with the review, but Pain is technically not ska. Still. Great review. I'm glad you dug it. I know most folks aren't going to dig this band quite as much as me. I grew up with them hard. Ramble ramble ramble, pos.

Digging: Look What I Did - Atlas Drugged

thelastsignal
July 12th 2014


1370 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks dude! I definitely don't want to mislabel the band; what would you categorize them as?

deathschool
July 12th 2014


8474 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They are definitely pop punk, and they do share a lot of characteristics with ska punk so it's not a big deal to describe their sound as such because that's for sure what people are going to pick up on. They just don't ever technically use the ska timing. Not a big deal. Just thought I'd point it out.

SharkTooth
July 12th 2014


4606 Comments


experimental pop-punk from the likes of deathschool's review

Digging: Juke FX - Juke Inside

thelastsignal
July 12th 2014


1370 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ah, I gotcha. That's definitely not something I would have picked up on, just due to my ignorance of the genre involved.

deathschool
July 12th 2014


8474 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

S'all good for sure.

ExplosiveOranges
July 13th 2014


2843 Comments


Lol, I feel bad that I got assigned a really easy album to review. You did solid nonetheless, Mark. Hard pos.

Digging: Electric Wizard - Time to Die

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
July 13th 2014


6045 Comments


Nice review Mark, pos'd. Don't thin I've ever seen you cover this style of music before, so this was an especially interesting read.

Digging: Aphex Twin - Syro

thelastsignal
July 13th 2014


1370 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks guys! Yeah, I mean some of my favorite bands were pop punk back in the day, but it was definitely hard to string together a coherent review.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy