Its hard to believe how terrible the quality is on this recording. Actually, it isn't as much to a person who's recorded about eight or ten songs onto a portable tape-recorder (I have my doubts as to what they used, but it does sound like one).
This album is a piece of art, if there ever was one. Mind the genre and decide for yourself, as all art is beauty and trash in one piece, whether you like it or not.
Contrary to popular belief, Blink-182 do not suck total ass. Ask any remote pop-punk fan to tell you that sometimes bands within this quite controversial genre can skyrocket to fame with a fantastic debut, and decide to fund their lives based on the cash recieved from it and rehash the same tunes over tenfold for the entirety of their post-freshman career. It's a common occurence in punk, and even pop music. Modern punk, at least (lets not get into that right now). Blink-182 were most obviously a band who tried their best, released only the finest work they believed they could manage and were only in it to have alot of fun. This attitude is likely what carried them to fame as of recent times, since they're ever so good at incorperating this into their music. However amazing something so early in a band's life may seem it does not flag a groundbreaking career, though, and so will the past prove that Blink slacked off their pop-punk roots and went for a much more mainstream route. Now pop-punk may not be a very experimental, revolutionary genre (just radio tunes, really), but some of the bands who categorized themselves under it did their best to make it seem as such. Blink-182 did not. What they did
do was take the successfulness of their first couple albums and pasted it onto their future releases, masked simply with overproduction and mature vocals (...I can't very much say their instrumentation got any better). So this re-do formula worked for a while up until Blink realized it was enough, and after knocking up their genre for as much attention they could muster, the band assumes a different role and becomes a solid workforce. Now, what does it really take to do something like that? It takes balls, for one and for another a branch which to record unto.
So what tree did they pull out of? The tree called 'Flyswatter'.
Undeniably the deepest roots of the band's work, Flyswatter
employs every last one of Blink's finest pop-punk qualities and combines it to make a junior effort. This was success in a box (or tape deck) that proved to act as the stage for the next few years in the band's career, eventually resulting in albums such as Buddha
and Chesire Cat.
Dude Ranch was not as much a Flyswatter product, as it created an outline for Enema
Two different sides of Blink-182 (were not counting the self-titled), two seemingly similar types of music. But their not, as the later work was not a jam really, it was detailed and obviously worked on for more than a week. The beauty of Flyswatter
is that it resembles early Nirvana
in such a way that creates a symbol of greatness, and obvious fluent success with an effort so lazily slapped together as was Bleach
and the album at hand. Arguably it is whether this tape is such a piece of crap, and should never see the light of day or such a work of slacker art it should be very widely reknowed by now. Of course it isn't, so perhaps the former opinion is of much greater quantity to the people of the pop-punk world.
The music is not of high-quality whatsoever. It at times can't be told aside from a swirling toilet filled with various children's playthings. Apparently the band were not so cautious as to decide they needed to catch attention of fans using blisteringly amazing and unaffordable tape-machines. CD's were completely out of the equation at the time. So what were they to do?
Sound like various past punk/pop acts, namely Dinosaur Jr. (who's song appears on the record, Freak Scene
), the Butthole Surfers, Pixies, Lagwagon, NOFX, etc etc. Definite Warped Tour
material (of the past, anyway). What Flyswatter
pertains to is what Blink-182 wanted to become for their first few years as a band. Maybe recruited a much more talented drummer opened their eyes? Maybe. But its sad to see that this initial format of breakneck power chords and perfect mesh between instruments and vocals (much like those past bands had) was abandoned. I think they were a much better group with Raynor taking up the drums. Certainly more aerodynamic, and energetic. With a stimulated attitude on every track and poppy, poppy
guitar work Flyswatter
was constructed into a punk-rock masterpiece, which would have been quite a huge figure of influence had it been released a few years earlier. So pop, as you can tell by now is the main influence on the record. It isn't so much punk as it is pop, defenitely.
Solos, in the songs. Solos! On a Blink-182 album? This one at least. Uncommon, I know, but they draw heavily on early Green Day work and Tom manipulates the strings in a massivley simple arc of the fingers to create what seems like a genius placement. Not so genius as one may think, as a generic pop-punk fan may see in it. But even so they make the song feel much at home with the general attitude of Flyswatter.
Along with the solos are what seems to be actual chord progression courtesy of Mr. Tom DeLonge, which at first seemed entirely improbable but turned out to be very possible. What has he forgotten since he started? Oh well, you know the self-titled makes up for lost action. But it doesn't do as much justice as Tom conveyed here. His employment of moving and ripping power-chords proves to many that he isn't a usless guitar tard and can actually write a semi-difficult piece. Enough bashing though, I think...he isn't as terrible as made out to be. He may have close to no actual knowledge of how to provide an intriguing sheet of music, but can really move
when required. Up and down, forward and back, sideways.
Scott Raynor. A most imperitive member both for providing necessary percussion as well as a place to record. Useful. In the songs, as well. As always it is the generalization that some may say really killed the early work, but I think it flows. Very well. Of course drums that simplistic will flow with such similar vocals and guitars, but Blink-182 were one those who really knew how to do it right. Combinations galore, Scott aids Tom and Mark through the entire album as if he's some kind of host for them. Sort of like a 'you're stepping into my fortress, you'll play by my rules' kind of thing. Not his most emotional display (yes, I do believe drums can convey emotion) but without question his easiest to listen to. And play along with.
Almost as it was a godly blessing upon modern pop-punk, Blink-182's Flyswatter
finalizes what they were to sound like for the remainder of their career with Scott Raynor. This beautiful age sadly came to a sudden stop as he drops out of the band and is replaced with former Aquabats member Travis Barker.
We've all heard that name, now haven't we? One of the most talented people to be included in the great halls of pop-punk, Travis showed the band a new light and likely introduced them to his
type of music. I've always had a theory that the drummer in this band was no doubt of the highest influence on the members themselves, as with the example the drumming changes, the music shifts as well. A prime example is this band. Scott Raynor was the master of catch and hook, whilst Barker was more of a speedy high-hat addicted quick-fingers. Scott pertained to classic pop and punk, and Travis brought on Ska drumming which greatly brought the weight down upon him for the rest of Blink's lifetime. Listen to how his drum work progresses as does the records numbers.
With Scott the band were a happy, hook writing pop-punk group. Rather small in their early days, but regardless talented and masters of the lower-class pop music. Summer days and sleepless nights were the primary subjects of early Blink lyrics, and while being some of the most technically retarded songwriters of this day and age Blink-182 found the light that led to critical fame. Nostalgia is not as much brought on upon first hearing Flyswatter...
but rather the broken shadows and memories of what could have been.
If you want a few catchy numbers, scourge up Marlboro Man
and Freak Scene.
Honestly though, there isn't anything on this album that should be missed. Its open enough to appeal to everybody.
Guitar/Vocals: Tom DeLonge
Bass/Vocals: Mark Hoppus
Drums/Bedroom: Scott Raynor