Pemberton
Maybe I'm a friend that stuck around too long.


3.3
great

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
December 12th, 2018 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: make sure that the sin and the glitter is gone

Maybe I'm a friend that stuck around too long. sounds like it was written through the grimy window of a tour van. You've probably composed this album in your head dozens of times, on a roadtrip with mates or after a particularly bad argument, but never committed it to tape. You've imagined yourself belting it out to those kids who gave you shit in high school or a years-old crush, wowing them into silence with your honesty and sincerity and pop-punk songwriting acumen. Befitting of an album like that, it's clumsy and awkward and fumbles for deeper meaning, but it can be hard to hold these sometimes endearing traits against Pemberton when the band clicks together and the songwriting rises to the occasion.

This happens for the first time in "Tendencies", a song that powerwalks its way to a hook tailormade to vibrate the windows in bars and pubs. Pemberton have shown their aptitude for great choruses already with "A Funny Thing Happened on a Way to the Morgue", so it's a genuine surprise when "Tendencies" takes a hard left turn and Jared Grimm switches to a piercing scream to end the hook. Grimm's vocal aptitude is a big point in the band's favour – he croons, yells and gently falsettos his way through song after song, even sustaining the harsh scream for an entire verse in "Casual Existential Despair" to briefly transform the song from rock into something from the 90s with a French name you'd find on bandcamp. Grimm and keyboardist Jack Paech also show an inclination towards great harmonies, especially during the power-pop banger "Anything/You" which recalls Aussie legends Trial Kennedy, but these moments are far too sparing and buried in a mix which never figures out if it's lo-fi or well-polished. Grimm's excellent performance, often energised by the airtight performance of rhythm section Slade Richardson and Damon Lloyd, helps to sell lyrics which are largely mired in the same topics every band in this genre has ever written about. "Tapleys Hill" channels a Wil Wagner confessional style for some solid lines about filthy habits and self-disgust, but the five-minute song sidelines the rhythm section of the band for far too long in favour of flickering down to an anticlimax. "When A Wise Man Points to the Moon" relies on a thrashing instrumental and attention-grabbing first line to shake off the previous song's apathy, but still loses its way without a clear melodic throughline during its very brief runtime.

It's hard to avoid feeling that the band do both styles better with "To Live is the Way Out", a clear standout and just batshit crazy song which builds from a Damien Rice-esque piano twinkle and a slow bluesy guitar vamp to a climax with blastbeats, screaming and a solo that would make the best Guitar Hero player you know blush. It's the kind of tune a band might write three albums in to break the mould, which makes its appearance on Pemberton's debut all the more impressive; even amongst the genre-switching and bold stylistic shifts, the song has an obvious emotional anchor which keeps it grounded, something the band would do well to maintain on other songs. This quality is the one thing "Way Out" has in common with its otherwise polar opposite, "Chemicals", a closing track which sees the entire band cede the spotlight to Richardson for a raw life experience about a family member fallen into drug addiction. Both the lo-fi nature of the song and Richardson's Kinsella-esque accent are initially off-putting, especially after the genre-hopping of the previous two songs, but deeper listens of the song reveal a genuine, weary emotional depth that the album's other lyrics notably lack.

The inclusion of "Chemicals" is another indication that Pemberton have more up their sleeves than their modest sound might initially suggest, and hints towards future releases being bolder and cleverer with their songwriting choices. It's no coincidence that my favourite part of Maybe I'm a friend that stuck around too long. is the title track, a minute-long interlude which sees a moving piano fugue a la Blink's "Stockholm Syndrome Interlude" accompany a recorded phone call. It's nothing groundbreaking, but the album's strange production comes in good for once when the specifics of the phone call are largely lost against the rising and falling of the keys: another lost opportunity for communication in a sea of missed calls. It's both the clearest articulation of Pemberton's obsession with failed relationships, and a great demonstration of the band's potential when they get out of their own way and let the music flow.



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user ratings (12)
Chart.
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2018


41016 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

"Tendencies" fucks basically: https://pemberton.bandcamp.com/track/tendencies



and the whole alb https://pemberton.bandcamp.com/album/maybe-im-a-friend-that-stuck-around-too-long

Digging: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - Bird Box (Abridged)

Piglet
December 12th 2018


7810 Comments


IT HAPPENED, ITS FOINALLY APPENED

ROWAN PUT DOWN HIS SMGS ON BLOPS ND ACTUALLY DID IT BOIZ

THE MADWAN


Piglet
December 12th 2018


7810 Comments


gud revew btw ya neep

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2018


41016 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

m8 i've not had time for blops in weeks hey, I bought for PC but my piece of shit laptop can't run it lol

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
December 12th 2018


2738 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Hello Jack how are you grandpa and I would like to have you over for dinner to talk about your “late night discoveries” as Mum put it love you lots please respond kisses

CalculatingInfinity
December 12th 2018


8728 Comments


This is actually really good and y'all should check it out :]

verdant
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2018


2356 Comments


review is exceptional

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
December 12th 2018


24306 Comments


OoooOOoOoooHHH hell ya!!
Jack how was the Jeff Rosenstock gig??

verdant
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2018


2356 Comments


my good sir i have no idea what you are talking about

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
December 12th 2018


24306 Comments


ahh heard these guys played with em, thought u mightve went (:

luci
December 12th 2018


10559 Comments


maybe i'm a sput user that stuck around too long

Tyler.
December 12th 2018


16022 Comments


same

SteakByrnes
December 12th 2018


14163 Comments


Dope review, big love

verdant
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2018


2356 Comments


ok lucid i'll go

luci
December 13th 2018


10559 Comments


referring to myself smh

verdant
Staff Reviewer
December 13th 2018


2356 Comments


you wanna go together ?

Hawks
December 27th 2018


66816 Comments


Pemenberton

Digging: Jute Gyte - Senescence

zeitgeistaddendum
January 3rd 2019


30 Comments


Imma check this out

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 6th 2019


8141 Comments


Great review, album title teleported me way back.

Digging: Insonus - The Will to Nothingness

chug73
January 7th 2019


3749 Comments


Picure of the album is from Fitzroy, corner of Johnston and Brunswick I'm pretty sure.



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