Punchline - Action
Released: February 24, 2004
Fueled By Ramen Records
Ah, 2004. The year that Fall Out Boy was just starting to gain monumental fame, riding the coattails of their debut, Take This To Your Grave. The year that Facebook was founded (thank you Wikipedia). The international year of rice. The year that Punchline released their debut for Fueled By Ramen, Action. That's right, It's been five years since all of these things happened, but do we look back upon them with disgust or with pride? Rice and Facebook are not relevant, so let's focus on Action.
The album opens up with, well, "Open Up," a quick, fast paced, uplifting track that gives us a nice glimpse of what is to come. "Hey, you've got me" sing the three vocalists, Steve Soboslai, Chris Fafalios, and Paul Menotiades (the kings of crazy last names). Yeah, you have got my attention, what with your catchy hook, sonic voice twists, and layered musicianship. Now, show me more.
Those trends continue in "Not Afraid," which is a great showcase of all three vocalists, who switch off lead vocals in between group singing. On deck is fan favorite "Heart Transplant," which may be the catchiest song on the album. The tempo slows down with the traditional Punchline track six ballad "Coldest of Calendars," one of the saddest songs the band has ever produced, but without making it to obvious.
The fast paced Punchline returns with "Getting There Is Getting By" and "Why Is He Right?" two brilliant songs that are really driven by the rhythm section, Bass player Fafalios and drummer PJ Caruso.
Lyrics shine on "Battlescars" and "A Sharp Is a Flat," while the band shows a more experimental side with "A Beautiful Green." The album closes out with the always uplifting and hopeful "Just Getting Started," the greatest way to show what kind of band Punchline is at its core: a hopeful one. Punchline is a band, who, unlike several others, brings the listener up instead of down.
The album derives its complexity from its simplicity. Plainly, the different parts of the album aren't brilliant when separate; but when put together make for a fun, hopeful, and great album. Action has great staying power, it's still great after five years.
Pop-punk does not have to be all Fall Out Boy, and this band is a great showcase of that fact. Plain and simple, they are a different, fun, and underrated band. So, if you have never heard of this band, this is obviously a recommendation for you: try them out. "Open up/ and say 'ahh'" to Punchline. They are here to stay.