Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Steinways - Gorilla Marketing

The Steinways - Gorilla Marketing
Cold Feet Records

Realistically, I should have reviewed this record months ago. When it leaked, I found myself listening to it constantly, but struggled to keep from reviewing it, since it was still months away from release. I figured I'd wait until at least the pre-orders were up. Well, now the pre-orders are up and I'm no longer listening to this record daily. Not to mention, most people who would be interested in this have heard it and made up their minds already. Regardless, I'll try to do my best with this review.

It's funny when a band "matures." Sometimes it's great, and other times it's horrible. On Gorilla Marketing, pop punk darlings The Steinways have put out a much more mature pop punk record (I'll take Oxymorons for $1000, Alex). From the opening guitar interplay on "Arena Rock" to the dance inspired "(Nobody Wants To) Make Out (With Me Because I Wear Sweatpants)," it's obvious that they've been working on their songwriting. Guitarist Ace and bassist Michelle sing a lot more on this record, and they've thought about their vocals a lot. Ace's songs seem to be the most catchy, but at the same time, I'm not 100% sure how I feel about them. At first, I liked them, but as I've listened to the record more and more, I feel like they're a tad weaker.

Now, just because they've matured, it doesn't mean that the Steinways have lost the clever playfullness that made them fun in the first place. "Fuckmarket Pharmacy" is the perfect follow up to "Fruitmarket Fantasy" from the first LP. "Half Baked Heartache" has a great break down/bridge with a catchy homage to Boston Market, and really makes me want cornbread. "Manhattan Boots" challenges Blink 182 in it's sexual brusqueness. So, even though they're maturing, it's good to see that they are still keeping it fun, and hilarious. This is what makes me love the Steinways so much. Fun lyrics, catchy vocal melodies, and tight harmonies. That's what this style of pop punk should be.

Now, even though I love the Steinways, it's not to say that this record isn't without it's flaws. The aforementioned "(Nobody Wants To) Make Out (With Me Because I Wear Sweatpants)" is kind of grating at times (if not hilarious), and the effects scattered throughout seem tacked on and pointless. The closing instrumental track also has that tacked on feeling, and to me, doesn't give the closing to this album that it should have. I wish that it ended one track earlier, with "CGI," which I think is one of the stronger songs on the album.

Despite it's shortcomings, this is definitely up there as a contender for my album of the year so far. It's fun, it's catchy, but it shows that the Steinways are able to progress and not get caught in the trap that a lot of similar bands do. This record is finally up for pre-order, and you should definitely pick one up asap. Also, try to catch them at Insubordination Fest this summer!

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