The Return of Album Reviews: You've been here all along...Haven't you? Well, maybe.

So, ok. It has been nearly a month since I've posted anything at all. Between mass amounts of school work and working on my guitar project I basically used it all as an excuse to take a break from the whole color scale thing. In the NHL we're going to hit the 10 game point soon where I feel like I can start to evaluate what the Predators are going to look like this season. If the current trend of sketchy play and anemic shooting continues it is going to be a cold and whiskey friendly early evaluation. I do have at least one hockey related blog rolling around in my head, and I can promise that it will be a return to the general weirdness that seems to permeate my hockey related blogs.

In the mean time I decided to write a review for one of the big releases in punk rock as well as one for an album that I've really being loving since I got my hands on it. In case you can't figure out the Cobra Skulls are the former and Candy Hearts are the latter.

Candy Hearts – Everything’s Amazing & Nobody’s Happy 

I like to embrace my love of bands fronted by female vocalists, especially when that band is bouncing indie pop or punk. So, when I got pointed towards the Candy Hearts I was overjoyed. My immediately impression of the band was that someone had taken a pop punk band, dunked them in honey, and finally rolled them in sugar and pop rocks. My second impression was that Candy Hearts delivered something between The Besties and Plumtree. Does this mean that I’m calling them a twee band? Yeah, probably, but so were the Besties and if you asked those ladies they would call themselves a punk band. Fine by me. If you’re a fan of twee-style band then the lyrics won’t be all that surprising. The lyrics take that innocent and cutesy approach towards life’s little problems like relationships, self-consciousness, and all that good stuff with which we can empathize. I find the lyrics to be the type that I can just revel in, or to put it another way I can attack them like a cat that just ripped open a felt mouse full of catnip. Full disclosure, I knew that I would love this album from the first song because the course to the opening track Tongue Tied drops some grammatical metaphors, and if there is one (ok another) thing that I’m a sucker for it is the clever use of grammar puns. I don’t want to spend the entire time gushing about just one element of the band so… I mentioned what the band reminds me, but there is certainly an injection of pop punk sounds including some pleasantly surprising palm muting. The guitar and rhythm section really infuse the entire album with an energy that prevents Everything’s Amazing & Nobody’s Happy from being another girl with a ukulele album. The entire sound just meshes nice and tight in hopes of delivering an incredible enjoyable package.

Sometimes I like to make note of an album title that I really like. Everything’s Amazing & Nobody’s Happy is just a really great title. Not only does it make me recall Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and thereby leads towards me thinking about digital watches, but it’s a really nice statement about how ridiculous it is that all of us live in such an incredible world but always manage to pick out the most minuscule stuff to get all upset over.

Cobra Skulls – Agitations (iTunes Link)

I hesitated before deciding to write a review for the newest Cobra Skulls album Agitations. I certainly don’t think that the band has every released a bad, or even mediocre, album, but the expectations surrounding each release are always enormous. Without a doubt Agitations sounds like what you’d expect: wall-to-wall punk rock played quickly without politically and socially charged lyrics. What is new about the album is that it is stripped back a bit. We saw those leanings on American Rubicon, but there is almost no hint of a folky twang, occasional ska riff, or keys. The boys have instead opted for pure punk rock songs that refreshingly avoids the trappings of the orgcore growling that occupies the core of the punk rock produced these days. At the same time that is also the major weakness of the album. I feel like the record lacks the flare of the band’s previous work. That lack of flare I think contributes to how the album feels like it just flies by before you notice it. Believe does go out on a softer note with a folky song that is reminiscent of songs found on the band’s previous efforts. Overall Agitations is a very good album from a band that has a history of putting out excellent albums.

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