Tuesday, September 28, 2010

punchline's "delightfully pleased"

If you have a sense of humor, and love poppy, punky rock, this is your new jam. To preview it is to buy it.

This album is self-aware, carries NO PRETENSE at all, and is hilarious. They start the album off strong with "Seventy," a song that tells you up front "you won't find songs of hopelessness on this record / you won't find songs that leave you feeling LOST / just press play and let your problems melt away..." and gets remarkably up-front about never making it big, but being 101% content to serve their diehard fans with the line:

"...a platinum dream and a touring saga / we shot for the moon and missed / so we discovered our own planet"

And their own planet is the planet where their appreciation for their fans is always at the forefront - hell, the first track on this album is basically a letter of appreciation written to you and me. I could quote the rest of the lyrics to support the point, but you'll hear the full song soon enough.

Punchline's 2004 "Action" album was the soundtrack of my college years, and all of my friends will agree and remember, we spun that album like it was making us rich. Hearing it now is like hopping into a time machine that takes us back to sophomore year, where Milwaukee's Best and Ramen reigned supreme, and every night was a party night. Come to think of it, we listened to Punchline every night when we were partying, and the "Action" album never got old either. Those songs are truly the anthem of our college years. That album LIVED in the CD player of my awesome Jeep. Well, 2 albums and 6 years later, "Delightfully Pleased" has claimed the same spot - it's my go-to jam.

They mention LOST in the album opener, subtly nodding to the amazing track "Roller Coaster Smoke" - a tribute to the show "LOST," and a must hear for fans of the show. I have never seen LOST, and it's still my favorite song on the album, because it's awesome. Great arrangement, buildup, and groove. Defies genre. I DARE you not to bob your head when you're listening to this. RPT 1 PLZ.

The musicianship and songwriting here have stayed memorable and strong - you will absolutely have these hooks stuck in your head for a week. Pure delicious earworm goodness with incredible shelf-life. The harmonies and guitar tones are out-the-control good on this album. I have not grown tired of this album yet, and I have played it start to finish probably 20 times in the past 2 weeks.

They also have a song "Keystoned" that is all about how great Pennsylvania is, which I love, because I am a geographer. My favorite lyric in the song comes at the end of a long run of fun facts, where the singer lays out a triumphant "...and Pittsburgh has more bridges than any other cityyyyyyyy," while the rest of the band, in an over-the top 3 or 4 part harmony, a-la Bohemian Rhapsody, belts out a disclaimer "not counting Venice!"

Their "Greatest. Party. Ever." reminds me of myself - while describing the "Greatest. Party. Ever.," they tell you "I've been cleanin' and dustin' and cookin' all day / I got a fridge full of Zima and a vegetable tray" and resolve the stanza with "the WiFi network is slammin / Forrest Gump's on TV" - it's all so fun good-natured that you just want to give them a high five after every song.

Why should you buy this album: when I first discovered Punchline in 2004, I liked them so much I ordered a t-shirt from their shitty website. Well, a week later when the shirt arrived, I found with it a baseball card and a handwritten letter from the band, that said something to the effect of, and again, no pretense, just appreciation for their fans, "Dear Hunter, thanks for buying a t-shirt! We appreciate it and we're so glad you enjoy the album. Please accept this Will Clark baseball card as a token of our appreciation. Love, Punchline."

It just doesn't get any better than that. Reward these guys for kicking ass.



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