AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Album Review
Hint: Follow a reviewer to be notified when they post reviews.
Punchline - Just Say Yes Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 9.25
Lyrics 7
Production 9.75
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 8.75
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 87%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.36
Musicianship 9.43
Lyrics 8.43
Production 9.46
Creativity 8.96
Lasting Value 9.25
Reviewer Tilt 9.75
Average: 92%
Inside AP.net

Punchline - Just Say Yes

Reviewed by: Chris Fallon (09/09/08)
Punchline - Just Say Yes
Record Label: Modern Short Stories
Release Date: September 16, 2008


Let me get this out of the way: thank goodness Punchline is no longer a Fueled by Ramen band. That black hole of a label - where some talented bands go and die for a few years or forever (it depends, really) - is too caught up in executing bad decisions concerning promising bands who have taken some big steps backwards, opting for formula over meaning.

For Pittsburgh pop-punk mainstays Punchline, however, it was an escape best suited for them. In the time they've left their former do-good label, the band won $25,000 and started their own label, Modern Short Stories, whose first release is the band's fifth full-length, Just Say Yes. After many were disappointed with 2006's 37 Everywhere, perhaps because it's failed to contain the energy and interesting pop-punk strategy 2004's Action had, people were discouraged. Fear not, APFaithful - pop-punk is in the right hands, and Punchline are one of the floundering genre's saviors.

Despite the artwork that may point some in the direction of any current FBR band, the album is a throwback to the band's older, better-crafted sound - or more appropriately, the proper follow-up to their fan favorite, Action, taking on the same song progressions and sound qualities that album had. It doesn't hurt that Sean O'Keefe is behind the boards this time again, as well, splitting production duties with Jamie Woolford (Let Go, The Stereo), both making the recordings sound full, lush and crisp. The piano-pop of "Somewhere in the Dark" is brisk and shines with optimism; "Ghostie" is overflowing with aggression and pop; "Get Off My Train!" is a fast-paced, garage-rock scorcher; "How Does This Happen?" is classic Punchline, taking a simple hook and boosting it into the stratosphere; "Just Say Yes" is experimental pop, similar to Jimmy Eat World's Clarity years; "The Other Piano Man" is a raucous circus of harmony; and "Castaway" might be their best closing anthem ever, following the same build-up as "Exactly," showing that Punchline isn't your run-of-the-mill pop-punk band - their lyrics have always been largely introspective and investigations of modern human follies.

Normally, vocal duties were split evenly between band members, however on Just Say Yes, Steve Soboslai is the main attraction, with Jon Belan and Chris Fafalios rarely chiming in (as compared to previous albums). While their presence is missed, Soboslai continues to improve as a perfect voice for Punchline. He has just the right amount of angst in his voice, combined with sincerity and an eager notepad from which he has a lot to say, as if he's reading a flurry of thoughts. His voice is clear, concise and when the other bandmates join in, nothing ever seems out of place or whacked (although Belan sounds like a guest vocalist from Atreyu sometimes). P.J. Caruso's drumkit is so rich and has the perfect amount of "oomph," giving the disc a great deal of depth and power ("Punish or Privilege" is a great showcase of this). The only pratfall Punchline might need to consider improving is their lyrical abilities, which can be quite cornball and cliched ("Hope is just this thing that holds us down"; "I've got some news / I'm better off without you"), however the melodies are so addicting, it's rather difficult to fault them for a cheesy line here or there.

When you break it down, Just Say Yes is that record that reminds us of what made indie labels like Fueled by Ramen so special in the early part of the millennium. Punchline may have gone out and won a good chunk of change to restart their musical career, but in the process, just may have recorded their best album to date. It's bouncy, rhythmic and snappy - the way you've come to expect your old FBR favorites (such as The Stereo and Jersey, for starters). Pop-punk can be done effectively - and Just Say Yes is a terrific example of precisely how that is.

Recommended if You LikePunchline's Action; The Stereo's Rewind + Record; MxPx's Panic; Yellowcard's Underdog EP; former Fueled by Ramen bands who like to show you how much that label used to kick fucking ass
Choice Cuts"Somwhere in the Dark," "Castaway" and "How Does This Happen?"


Track Listing1. Ghostie
2. The Hit
3. Punish or Privilege
4. Maybe I'm Wrong
5. Somewhere in the Dark
6. Just Say Yes
7. How Does This Happen?
8. Get Off My Train!
9. Developing You, Camera
10. My White Collared Shirt
11. The Other Piano Man
12. Castaway
Band MembersSteve Soboslai: vocals/guitar
Jon Belan: guitar/vocals
Chris Fafalios: bass/vocals
P.J. Caruso: drums


Online VitalsOfficial Site | Official Myspace
PurchaseAmazon MP3
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 100.
07:00 PM on 09/09/08
#2
Matthew Tsai
Born and raised
Offline
User Info.
Matthew Tsai's Avatar
i like
07:26 PM on 09/09/08
#3
heyzombiehitler
has feelings
Offline
User Info.
heyzombiehitler's Avatar
From what I heard so far it sounds a bit too poppy for me. But for the record, I though 37 Everywhere was fantastic.
07:34 PM on 09/09/08
#4
Chris Fallon
Boom.
Offline
User Info.
Chris Fallon's Avatar
From what I heard so far it sounds a bit too poppy for me. But for the record, I though 37 Everywhere was fantastic.
I liked it, too - I understand why people may not have been so big on it, but I still think it's a pretty good album.

The band is, at its core, a pop band. But the album still has some crunch to it, and the first half of the album is well-done pop-punk before branching out into different realms of the pop world.
07:52 PM on 09/09/08
#5
hockeyguitar99
Prison Strength
Offline
User Info.
hockeyguitar99's Avatar
I liked 37 Everywhere and am really excited for this. Your reviewing some good shit tonight Chris.
08:04 PM on 09/09/08
#6
runningohfive
I know...
Offline
User Info.
runningohfive's Avatar
good review, I can't wait for this album
10:06 PM on 09/09/08
#7
heyzombiehitler
has feelings
Offline
User Info.
heyzombiehitler's Avatar
I liked it, too - I understand why people may not have been so big on it, but I still think it's a pretty good album.

The band is, at its core, a pop band. But the album still has some crunch to it, and the first half of the album is well-done pop-punk before branching out into different realms of the pop world.

That may be so, and I do respect these guys (only fueled by ramen record I have), but at the same time you have to admit their heavier stuff is great. When are you posting your review for Shudder? Im anticipating a good read.
12:34 AM on 09/10/08
#8
Chris Fallon
Boom.
Offline
User Info.
Chris Fallon's Avatar
That may be so, and I do respect these guys (only fueled by ramen record I have), but at the same time you have to admit their heavier stuff is great. When are you posting your review for Shudder? Im anticipating a good read.
I agree with you - I prefer their heavier material ... but I can't deny my love for some great pop melodies, which Punchline succeeds at.

Think I'll be posting my Shudder review early next week
12:45 AM on 09/10/08
#9
HelpMeSleep
fuck what you know.
Offline
User Info.
HelpMeSleep's Avatar
good review, Chris. I'm excited to hear this now.
01:01 AM on 09/10/08
allisterkid
here since blink fansite
Offline
User Info.
allisterkid's Avatar
I'm actually excited for this now. Didn't like their last album as much as Action though.
01:06 AM on 09/10/08
tait
@
Offline
User Info.
tait's Avatar
i want
03:15 AM on 09/10/08
Snails
see the benefits.
Offline
User Info.
Snails's Avatar
Great review man. I'm extremely excited for this.
04:25 AM on 09/10/08
SwishMX48
In December, drinkin' Horchata
Offline
User Info.
SwishMX48's Avatar
37 Everywhere definitely had to grow on me but now its one of the few "pop punk" albums from the last few years that I still listen too. I'm pretty excited to hear this.
04:48 AM on 09/10/08
birtcho
is...
Offline
User Info.
birtcho's Avatar
i dont know about the vocals getting a 9 judging from the songs on their myspace
04:53 AM on 09/10/08
Chris Fallon
Boom.
Offline
User Info.
Chris Fallon's Avatar
i dont know about the vocals getting a 9 judging from the songs on their myspace
Well, I'm judging from the entire album - Steve shines on this disc, especially in the latter half when he tones them down.
Options
More From This Author
Buy the Music

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Articles
CONNECT
Submit News
Forums
Contests
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
HIDDEN TREASURES
Free Music
Video News
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Recommendations
INFORMATION
Advertising
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
PropertyOfZack
PunkNews.org
UnderTheGun
Chorus.fm