The So So Glos - Blowout Album Review
All the material The So So Glos have released since their inception in 2007 has proven to deliver a joyous racket. They're there to give you a good time, whether you're just playing the songs at a party with your friends or seeing the band live. Here they are with second full length album 'Blowout', where their signature feel-good vibe is definitely present and will surely please their fans.
There is upbeat guitar all over 'Blowout', accompanied by Alex Levine's vocals that may be sloppy, but nonetheless have a sense of melody and sweetness much like those of Joe Strummer. Songs like 'Son Of An American', 'Emergency' and 'Wreaking Ball' do a fine job of demonstrating what The So So Glos are all about; fun, jangly riffs with vocalist Levine merrily yelping along. As great as the instruments and vocals are, it's the lyrics that stand out the most; Levine openly tells you his stories of good times with friends, failed relationships and the general New York lifestyle. You're happy for him to go on about himself just because he has a good way with words and you are likely relate as these themes as they are so relevant to everyday life. For example, in 'Speakeasy' he sings the lyrics, 'You would say it to my face, but those days done gone, now all you can do is hide, behind a screen' in such a happy tone, and it feels good for the listener to hear someone being so nonchalant about their issues.
When the band take a step out of their formula of yelping and high energy guitar playing, they still hold their own. For instance, 'Lost Weekend' feels just a little bit more sombre with a brooding bassline, slowed down parts and lyrical themes of giving up on someone: 'I'm not going to bail you out this time'. However, despite the downbeat tone, it still flows well with the rest of the cheery album. 'Dizzy' is certainly a change in tune, with harmonica, piano and acoustic guitar that feels like a twist on a Bob Dylan jam. It shows that they're capable of more than just raw guitar music. There's a hidden track on 'Dizzy', featuring children pretending to be the band after a minute's silence. Unfortunately, you're left wondering why this simply just isn't at the end of the album and if perhaps it would have had more impact if the momentum wasn't killed off at this point.
Other than these few songs that branch out, most of the songs on this album follow the same pattern of punky riffs and vocals. This doesn't have to be a negative though; after all, people didn't care that The Ramones' songs were very samey and repetition isn't a bad thing when the sound isn't something you'll get sick of. To some though, repetition is a bad thing and if you're wanting an album that is full of diversity, then move along. If you don't like the album after the first few songs, you're unlikely to change your mind as the album goes on. 'Blowout' won't change the world, but The So So Glos aren't about that. The So So Glos are just here to have fun and they really do sound like they're having a blast - sometimes that's all an album needs to be great.
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