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Terrible Things - Terrible Things Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 8.25
Lyrics 8.5
Production 8.5
Creativity 7.75
Lasting Value 8.75
Reviewer Tilt 9.25
Final Verdict: 85%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.54
Musicianship 7.75
Lyrics 7.75
Production 7.89
Creativity 7.61
Lasting Value 7.75
Reviewer Tilt 7.82
Average: 77%
Inside AP.net

Terrible Things - Terrible Things

Reviewed by: Gregory Robson (09/09/10)
Terrible Things - Terrible Things
Record Label: Universal Motown
Release Date: Aug. 31, 2010

Fred Mascherino has lived a charmed life. After seven years with Philly band Brody, he garnered a significant amount of acclaim as a member of rock outfit Breaking Pangea. The Philadelphia quartet sweated their way through a blitzkrieg career before parting ways in 2003. His career skyrocketed when he joined boywonders Taking Back Sunday and rode their magic carpet ride for an ephemeral four years.

In pursuit of a project that gave him full creative control, he formed power-pop outfit The Color Fred in 2008 and late last year teamed up with ex-Coheed and Cambria drummer Josh Eppard and ex-Hot Rod Circuit wunderkid Andy Jackson to form Terrible Things. The group's debut effort is loosely inspired by a series of arsons that plagued Mascherino's hometown of Coatesville, Pennsylvania. While calling it a concept album is probably a stretch, the fire theme is certainly felt on nearly every track.

The disc's opener "Intro," is an acoustic and string appetizer that gives a false sense of pace before jumping headfirst into the spiky "Revolution," an old-school throwback that kicks and flips with abandon. And then comes the album's first triumph, "Up All Night," is an urgent, punchy and anthemic pop-gem with ringing guitars, full-lunged vocals and air-tight production. Calling it one of the year's best power-pop songs is probably hyperbolic but one has to think the song has to at least be entered into the conversation.

The textured "Lullaby," reaches for arena-rock heights and never disappoints. With confident verses, a bursting chorus and stacks of guitars, it's another inspired effort that elucidates the fact that perhaps Mascherino is more talented than The Color Fred ever let on. Piggybacking on the merits of "Lullaby," is the punchy "Terrible Things," which marries a sun-drenched chorus with wickedly dark lyrics. Has malfeasance ever sounded so damn catchy?

The piano-fed "Conspiracy," goes for danceable, falsetto goodness and while its placement feels a bit alien on the album, the song's radio-ready chorus does little to dispel the fact that the band is in over his head. "Wrap Me Up," leaps from the speakers with Andy Jackson's swaggering vocals, inspired verses and some frisky drumming from Eppard. Calling it filler is probably a disservice, but if one is allowed revisionist history, why exactly is the song included here?

"Been Here Before," is an acoustic-and-strings ballad that's rich, luxuriant and indelible, but one has to wonder, why couldn't this have been earlier on the album? Did we really have to wait six songs for the group to offer up their vulnerable side? The fiery 'Not Alone," is Andy Jackson's opus and the song's crisp lucidity continues the band's penchant for surging power-pop.

There's nothing entirely off-putting about it, but at this point in the disc, we've certainly heard all this before. On the gorgeous and folksy "The Hills of Birmingham," the trio presents their best sonic arrangement and the album's most indelible number. Mascherino has always had a soft spot for ballads, but imagining he'd come up with something this deeply affecting is truly stunning. Once again though the same question posited on "Been Here Before," returns. Could this have been earlier on the disc, too? Why are two of the band's only ballads coming at the disc's latter half?

While the debate about the sequencing choices rages on, so to does the concept of fire as the album's conclusion is the explosive "The Arsonist's Wife," a crackling cut of snappy drums, searing guitars and subtle nuances. A lilting acoustic enters in the album's latter half before trailing off and grinding to a close.

In just 30 short minutes Eppard, Jackson and Mascherino have scraped and clawed, wailed and warbled over the harshness of humanity, the triumph of spirit and the confusing balancing act that so often ensues. Praising it as a vaulted work or escalating it to unattainable heights is probably foolhardy and inane, but make no mistake about it, this self-titled debut is a strong album. Given the lukewarm result of The Color Fred and the multi-year absence of Hot Rod Circuit, doubt and caution were certainly present upon first listening. But after nearly a dozen listens, Terrible Things is most definitely worth the purchase.

And so it goes. The incredibly charmed life of Fred Mascherino continues.

Lucky bastard.

Track Listing 1.Intro
2. Revolution
3. Up At Night
4. Lullaby
5. Terrible Things
6. Conspiracy
7. Wrap Me Up
8. Been Here Before
9. Not Alone
10. The Hills of Birmingham
11. The Arsonist's Wife


Recommended If You Like House of Heroes, Jimmy Eat World, The Color Fred, Hot Rod Circuit


Find Them Here Myspace
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 99
06:12 AM on 09/09/10
#2
therookielot
the shape of punk just came
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This album is outstanding. My favorite band I saw at Warped and I didn't even know any of the songs.
06:33 AM on 09/09/10
#3
cereal4life
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This is a doozie of a review, Greg! I'm actually a little bit surprised you reviewed it; when I saw the band, I immediately thought it would be reviewed by Chris. It's piqued my interest and I'm going to check it out for sure!
06:36 AM on 09/09/10
#4
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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This is a doozie of a review, Greg! I'm actually a little bit surprised you reviewed it; when I saw the band, I immediately thought it would be reviewed by Chris. It's piqued my interest and I'm going to check it out for sure!
I'm allowed a twinge of diversity every now and then. Gotta keep ya'll on your toes.
06:45 AM on 09/09/10
#5
cereal4life
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I'm allowed a twinge of diversity every now and then. Gotta keep ya'll on your toes.
Absolutely, it's great. I appreciate your diversity in taste and the fact that you give every album a fair go. Keep 'em coming!

EDIT: Really enjoying what they have to offer on their myspace. Solid.
06:49 AM on 09/09/10
#6
myacovo
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Saw these guys in Kingston, NY. . . Anything Andy Jackson is involved in is always good . . .teaming up with Fred and Josh was a great decision. The album is fun, catchy and majorly rocks out. BUY IT!!
07:07 AM on 09/09/10
#7
Phil507
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Why does such mediocrity always get at least an 80% on this site? Do you guys really like EVERYTHING?
07:13 AM on 09/09/10
#8
COREhorizon
Get Free
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On my first listen, I would've probably given in a 73-77%...maybe it's a grower.
07:14 AM on 09/09/10
#9
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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Why does such mediocrity always get at least an 80% on this site? Do you guys really like EVERYTHING?
Well for starters dipshit, I like mostly roots rock. So I stepped out of my comfort zone and found myself liking this. I'm sorry you think it's so mediocre. Go suck a lemon.
07:18 AM on 09/09/10
NeonBlonde407
Id rather be drinking a Vernors!
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Well for starters dipshit, I like mostly roots rock. So I stepped out of my comfort zone and found myself liking this. I'm sorry you think it's so mediocre. Go suck a lemon.
when life gives you lemons, go drink a beer
07:25 AM on 09/09/10
mattplayscheap
plays with squirrels
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hung out with them in Long Island last week and drank their warm sprite... they cool guys the real deal for sure... they need this and more! also peep Andy's Death In The Park album it is AMAZING!
07:30 AM on 09/09/10
topher465
every shining time you arrive
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In all seriousness, I've seen this band twice in the last several months, and they are one of the worst bands I've seen in awhile. I respect your review, Greg, but I just can't get over how generic and cheesy this band sounds.
07:47 AM on 09/09/10
Macbeth.
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Man...he destroyed Lullaby and made it another bullshit pop song.

I really liked The Arsonist's Wife and Wrap Me Up though. Need more dark Fred
07:53 AM on 09/09/10
dennisXisXbomb
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I think this is one of the best new CD's I've heard in a while. It might not be anything super unique, or cutting edge, but let's face it, these guys know how to write a good solid rock song. That being said, they were the only band that impressed me this year on Warped, and I can't wait to see them again on tour with Mae. These guys were some of the most humble, nicest guys I've ever met in a band, regardless of their past success, I think Terrible Things will make a name for themselves on their own music, not just what they've done before.
08:00 AM on 09/09/10
josh8282
I feel so L.M.N.O.P.
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Fred can do no wrong.
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