The Ettes - Look At Life Again Soon
Record Label : Take Root Record
Release Date: September 9, 2008
I used to view punk music as the type of music that anybody could create. I remember being 16 and listening to bands like Anti-Flag and NOFX and thinking to myself, "That doesn’t sound that hard; I mean the dude can barely sing." So I got my first guitar, learned a few chords, and quickly realized that I was wrong. Punk music might revolve around the progression of a few power chords, but it’s the little things in between that really define and distinguish the punk rock elite from the rest of punk rock.
The Ettes' Look At Life Again Soon seems to have all the punk elements any leather jacket wearing, mohawk loving punk could ever ask for (excuse my stereotyping): simple guitar riffs, up tempo drum beats, and plenty of fuzz to go around. I have always been a fan of punk music, and there is no doubt that The Ettes have what I would consider a punk sound. There are many reasons that I find punk music appealing and the three most important are that it’s simple, it’s catchy, and, most of all, it’s fun to listen to. But it falls mostly flat on entertainment value.
After a quick listen to the album (and I do mean quick since only one song breaks the three minute mark), I realized a couple of things. First, the production of the album is very dirty. Second, almost all of the songs sound the same. Now, I realize that having similar sounding songs on an album isn’t always a bad thing, but it becomes a bad thing when the songs fail to grab your attention and bore you. After hearing a few songs I could almost predict what the next song would be like. One: insert repetitive drum beat. Two: come in with fuzzy bassline and vocals that are drowned in reverb. Three: add fuzzy guitar licks to complete the trifecta of awesome dirtiness. Although I assume that this is the sound the band was going for, I don't personally like it.
The first song on the album,"I Get Mine", encapsulates this sound perfectly and is actually kind of a fun song to listen to. The drums and vocals really drive this track, and I can imagine that it would be a fun one to see performed live. After this song , the record seems to repeat itself while increasingly getting more boring until reaching "Two Shakes".
I think the band shines most when straying from their norm on songs like “Two Shakes” and “Where Your Loyalties Lie”. “Two Shakes” is by far my favorite song on the album. I really like the way the acoustic guitar and drums lay the foundation for the catchy melody that goes back and forth from vocals to lead guitar. This song also contains my favorite line from the album - “bodies fit together not just yours and mine you know.” The album also ends on a solid note with “Where Your Loyalties Lie”. The song begins with a simple yet effective guitar riff and a simple kick drum pattern. The vocals come in flawlessly and seem to perfectly compliment the rest of the song. This is a time when I feel that the heavy reverb on the vocals is actually effective instead of just being there for the sake of being there.
In the end I really wished the album would have had more experimentation and variation in its songs. All too often The Ettes seem to fall into the same stagnant patterns that bore more than please. I think that the talent is there, but they need to expand their boundaries more often.