Review Summary: Mccafferty start to venture for their own sound after widening their influences.
Whenever I think of bands that are personally the “worst” in a certain scene, I never answer with whatever band or artist I think sounds the most obnoxious or outlandishly annoying necessarily. Rather, I typically answer with a project that I feel contributes to their scene so ridiculously little that I feel like it has actually taken away from whatever scene is in question. McCafferty used to be a band that fit into that mold for me, not just because I thought they were an inferior alternative to The Front Bottoms (whom I thought were already terrible enough after they signed to Fueled by Ramen), but because they had seemed to be one of these new bands being pigeonholed into the new wave of RockSound/AltPress obsessed bands like Waterparks, Moose Blood (who is headlining McCafferty’s upcoming tour), or State Champs. When I had actually went to check their earlier material, I couldn’t shake how generic and lame it sounded at the time. It had just made me want to go check out a band that actually did what McCafferty were trying to do better like Microwave or Can’t Swim. There may had been some talent hidden throughout some of the vocal harmonies or inventive riffing being trickled in between, but there needed to be more substance on future material to really win me over. Though, I will admit there is still a ways to go for McCafferty in the long run, Yarn
is a wonderful step in the right direction for the band in their future expansion of sound,
The main point of this record though, if there is only one point to make, is that it seems to have two identities. Part of this identity is a mesh of this “newer McCafferty” with tinges of their older sound, unable to shake off the Blink-182-ripoff-itis, which is still present on some tracks like “Yarn” and “Windmill” quite prominently as the power chords hammer away. Don’t get me wrong though, there are some incredible variations in sound for the band on here, namely on tracks like “Westboro Sadness” which samples an angelic choir vocal passage, before jumping full on into an early 80’s inspired punk sound that captivates the listener throughout its short 2 minute runtime. The other identity of McCafferty shown here however, displays their more adventurous tendencies, which gets more of the forefront on tracks like “Mary Z” and single “Strain” which both respectably serve as interesting departures for the band. These tracks also serve to show the band’s chemistry to be able to work kitschy and slightly experimental alt-rock-isms into their catchy pop punk/emo foundation. Perhaps the most interesting departure though, is the closing track “Toewgmo” which sees vocalist Nick Hartkop taking the spotlight in the mix (for once) and gives a Mark Kozelek-esque ramble before the album ends on a near-bombastic, yet also peaceful piece of catharsis. While the rest of the record doesn’t nearly live up to its end per se, and some of it is lacking in the creativity department, it still serves as a somewhat consistently thought-out piece of alt-rock laden pop punk, and Yarn
serves as a great benchmark for what McCafferty could have in the works in the coming years.