Review Summary: Not just okay, but very okay.
I have nothing but immense respect for Quote Unquote Records. Those who do know about QU and the bands they support (Bomb the Music Industry!
, Laura Stevenson and the Cans
, The Wild
, Chotto Ghetto
, just to name a few) most likely have a level of admiration comparable to mine. For the unfortunate souls who aren't so familiar with the label, what you ought to know at this point is that Quote Unquote is a purely donation-based company, whose goal is as simple as putting out good/fun music and, in doing so, helping their artists to get heard. That being said, there are two important aspects of QU's music: it's usually pretty awesome, and no matter what it is absolutely free. Not free as in bittorent or mediafire free, but rather LEGAL and free. This makes for an extraordinarily convenient way to stumble upon new music, most of which turns out to be pretty fun and enjoyable.
The label's newest band, a Brooklyn based supergroup (of sorts) called Very Okay
, features members of Cheeky
, and Get Bent
, as well as a few other groups. They recently released their debut EP, Small Loud
, which, according to the Quote Unquote site, boasts "awesome, fast pop-punk!" This description is at least seventy-five percent accurate, for the EP certainly is as fast and poppy as it is punk-y. However, the degree to which "awesome" is an appropriate adjective is, to say the least, up for debate.
, simply put, is a very pleasant listen. For the extent of just under seventeen minutes, Very Okay
's vocalist seems to frolic along in the most politely persistent of ways, usually just above and beyond the music's slightly more prosaic reach. However, the singing and instrumentation do intermittently mingle in their dances to generate a certain cutesiness that falls just short of adorable, although these moments are limited and rather scattered. All in all, Small Loud
never quite achieves what it seems to constantly be building itself up into. Much like the lyrics, which tell of general misunderstandings and insecurities between potential lovers, this song collection doesn't ever quite display enough commitment, cohesiveness, or confidence to ever be anything more than pleasant. If this EP were your significant other, it would be the type to sleep with you one night but then flirt with other guys the next day. Although effective and amusing, such a situation is just inopportune enough to fall short of fully gratifying, and that's exactly where this album stands. At times, it's almost as if the lyricist understands how analogous her songwriting is to the record in that it succumbs a little too easily to its shortcomings.
In "Blue of Distance", the singer laments, "this year came in like a tiger, and I have faith that it will go out the same way. Small Loud
is just like this; it comes and then goes as swiftly and easily as a tiger might, leaving behind very little evidence of its brief stay. Moments of serenity and a peculiar sense of commiseration make for what is an undoubtedly delightful listen, but not a particularly remarkable one. With just a little more oomph and confidence in the future, Very Okay
could most definitely create something slightly more impressive, although Small Loud
was by no means a bad place to start.