And now for something completely different: two bands, on one album, reviewed in one article. It should be fun for you, dear reader; I guarantee, it was kinda hard for me.
The Good: songwriting galore. The first and foremost thing that sticks out in my mind about both bands is that they are solid in their attempts to grab you by the balls with their songwriting. They take no prisoners, much likes pirates do while searching for gold. Every song on this album has a purpose; whether it be sticking to a premium chorus, a la “The Departed” by Crooked Jacks, or a killer verse that plays as the backbone for “Let’s Go” by Rusty Feather. All these cats know how to craft a catchy tune straight outta the late 90s or early 00s. God Love ‘em all for it.
Those fucking bassists. Seriously. They left me in awe. Both Stephan Napalm (Crooked Jacks) and Pat (Rusty Feather) know how in the hell to write a bassline. If I were to close my eyes, I could imagine Matt Freeman ripping up the rhythm section for both bands. It’s a rare treat to hear such crazy lines coming from two bands sharing a split album.
Mark, from the Crooked Jacks, knows how to play some drums. Thom Yorke said it best: “Everything In It’s Right Place” doesn’t even begin to describe this gent’s precision on the drums. There are no hits out of time. There are no rolls that feel out of place. Each cymbal splash is well calculated. This man is a machine (although hopefully not a Robocop), sent to planet earth to teach us all how a good drummer should sound.
The Bad: Edwar Noiz doing vocals for Rusty Feather. I’m not sold. The lyrics are tight, yet it’s the melodies that get me. They are in tune and well done for what they are, but they never go above, nor below, the set octave that they start in. If you wanna be a vocalist, you need to show better chops than that.
The lyrical stylings for “Raccon Disguise” by the Crooked Jacks left me feeling a little unsettled. It sounds like singer Matt Haggard, (yes there are two singers in this band, which is fucking awesome) rushes into getting all the lyrics out. It may be a stylistic choice, and if so, that’s fine; however, the words become jumbled, and it takes me outta the song. Also, it’s spelled Raccoon. “Raccon” is not a word that exists in the English language.
The Ugly (those bits that are so dirty, you gotta love ‘em): First, the backing vocals for each band. Yes, they are on key and lovely to the ears, but NOFX said it best, “Between AFI and the Offspring, I don’t think we need anyone else to sing anymore “Woooooooaaaaah’s.””
Second, the guitar riffs by Julia from Rusty Feather. They are greasy and killer, and make me wanna eat dirt. Handfuls of dirt. This band may have outrageous songwriting abilities, but it all hinges on the guitar riffs; those ugly, dirty, raunchy, scandalous, lascivious guitar riffs.
Third, the duel vocals of Crooked Jacks. It’s a killer change-up between the songs that makes me think they took a slightly less crusty version of Talk Sick and made it your home.
The Verdict: great album. If anyone wants to hear some serious, old-school punk rock that makes you wanna eat tons of speed and dance, this is the album for you.
Written by Aaron Deck
*edited by Kate Erickson